An important turning point in Emanuel's life occurred in 1976 when, with his wife Matina, he visited the great museums of Europe. At the Louvre, his guide took them to the “most celebrated section – the Greek section” where Emmanuel was amazed and angered to find so many valuable Greek antiquities. It was this incident, he says, which fired his resolve to start a world movement for the return to Greece of the many antiquities that are in foreign lands.
In 1981, Emanuel established the first committee in the world – an Australian one - for the return of Greek antiquities and in particular, the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. The objective of this committee, the International Organising Committee – Australia for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. is to coordinate efforts in Australia and work with associated committees in the USA, Canada, Britain and New Zealand. It aims to bring pressure on governments and to influence public opinion in order to ensure the rightful return to Greece of the Parthenon Marbles.
In 1983, Emanuel was invited to represent the Committee at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Peace Palace in the The Hague. Here he presented the case for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to the 7th International Law Seminar entitled “Resolution of Cultural Property Disptues”. The seminar attracted world experts on the issue of the return of illegally appropriated cultural property.
In 1985 Mr Comino wrote to the Australian Prime Minister, Mr R.J. Hawke seeking the Australian government’s support for his campaign. Mr Hawke agreed to offer his support through the services of UNESCO which has made repeated representations to the British Government – all of which have so far been refused.
Emanuel Comino has spent the last thirty years traveling Australia and the world, presenting lectures and arguing the case for the return of the marbles. “I will fight on as long as I live, he says “until England promises to send the marbles back to Greece. I will continue to work for their restitution until the day I die. They were and remain an integral part of the Parthenon as a monument to the glory of Classical Greece and the civilisation it gave to the world.”