Letter to the Editor re: Weary Herakles sculpture

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The following letter has appeared in Hetq; Keghart; Massis Weekly; Armenian, Assyrian & Hellenic Genocide News, and elsewhere.

The Boston Globe, where it was initially sent, has yet to publish it.

Letter re: Weary Herakles Statue

October 20, 2011

So the Museum of Fine Arts is returning an ancient statue of “Weary Herakles” to Turkey (“MFA sends ‘Weary Herakles’ statue back to Turkey,” Sept. 24, Boston Globe). Herakles was a Greek god, and the statue is based upon an ancient Greek original. Does anyone believe that Turkey is a credible custodian or legitimate inheritor of ancient – particularly Greek - culture?

Turkey has exterminated the indigenous peoples of Asia Minor – Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians – and tried to erase all traces of their existence, while harassing the few who are left.

Turkey has destroyed, deliberately misidentified, or grossly neglected most of the churches, cultural landmarks, and villages of these ancient peoples, whom Turks conquered after arriving from Central Asia.

Hundreds of such villages have also been assigned Turkish names to erase the fact that these were the lands and homes of people whom Turkey annihilated.

Turkey says that the statue's return is morally right and concerns "culture." But it’s really about tourist money and laying illegitimate claim to heritages that it has, in fact, tried to destroy.

Rather than returning the Herakles statue, the MFA should be shedding light on Turkey’s acts of cultural destruction and genocide.

David Boyajian

Belmont, MA