On Wednesday, October 26th, John Navarre, the American-born founder of the international advocacy campaign ReturnTheStone.org, carried a large banner into the British Museum that read “The Rosetta Stone is a stolen artifact that the British Museum refuses to return to Egypt” and unveiled it beside the stone’s display case inside of the museum for visitors to see alongside the Rosetta Stone exhibit.
“The Rosetta Stone is the world’s most famous stolen artifact and the British Museum should have returned it to Egypt long ago. It is absolutely wrong for this priceless piece of the Egyptian people’s cultural heritage, which was illegally looted from Egypt by the British military, to remain here in the British Museum,” said Navarre. “The Egyptian people should also not have to fight alone for the stone’s return. Those of us from Western countries have a moral obligation to stand with Egyptians and do everything we can to apply pressure on the British Museum and the British government to return the Rosetta Stone to Egypt.“
The campaign’s website, ReturnTheStone.org, aims to educate the international public about the undisputed history of the artifact and how it came to illegally reside in the British Museum. It also has a very detailed “Frequently Asked Questions” page that includes, among many other topics, exactly how the British Museum already has the authority under British law to return the Rosetta Stone to its rightful owners – the government and people of Egypt. ReturnTheStone.org also contains the first international grassroots petition that was launched back in October of 2021 in both English and Arabic which calls on the British Museum to return the Rosetta Stone to Egypt without any further excuses or delay.
However, Navarre also emphasized that the ReturnTheStone.org campaign is about much more than just calling for the stone’s return and instead consists of a new, multi-stage, international campaign plan that is centered around bold actions instead of just words. While details about the next – and significantly larger – phases of the campaign will be released over the coming weeks and months, plans include events in multiple Western countries to pressure the British Museum’s leadership, trustees, and donors to publicly oppose the museum’s official position on repatriation and support the stone’s return.
“This protest action today inside of the British Museum marks a turning point and a new era in the Egyptian people’s fight to see the Rosetta Stone returned Egypt,” Navarre added. “Egyptians will no longer have to fight this battle alone, and now the British Museum, its leadership, its Board of Trustees, and its financial donors are all on notice that their continued support for the unethical retention of the world’s most famous looted and stolen artifact will quickly become a professional liability that will tarnish their careers, brands, and legacies if they cannot summon the moral fortitude to use their positions to proactively support the Rosetta Stone’s rightful return to Egypt.“
ReturnTheStone.org is a new global grassroots campaign to morally compel the return of the world’s most famous looted artifact – the Rosetta Stone – to Egypt, the country from which it was stolen. This campaign is embedded within the wider movement to morally pressure governments around the world to return looted and stolen artifacts to their rightful owners. ReturnTheStone.org and the “Global Petition to Return the Rosetta Stone to Egypt” were created in October of 2021 by John Navarre, who is also the publisher of the magazine Middle East Travel & Tourism and the website EgyptTravelBlog.com. John, who also hosts several travel shows about Egypt including The Egypt Travel Podcast and The Egypt History and Culture Podcast, is an American-born expat who splits his time between Europe, Egypt, and the United States.
ReturnTheStone.org is not funded by or affiliated with any government or institution. For more information about the project, please visit https://returnthestone.org/faq.