When United States Secretary of State Colin Powell went goes to the United Nations in February 2003 to make his case for war with Iraq’s Saddam Hussain, the U.N. threw a blue cover over Picasso’s antiwar masterpiece, ‘Guernica’. David Walsh of the World Socialist noted,

UN officials claimed that the cover-up was simply a matter of creating a more effective backdrop for the television cameras. “When we do have large crowds we put the flags up and the UN logo in front of the tapestry,” asserted Stephane Dujarric. New York Newsday, however, reported that “Diplomats at the United Nations, speaking on condition they not be named, have been quoted in recent days telling journalists that they believe the United States leaned on UN officials to cover the tapestry, rather than have it in the background while Powell or other US diplomats argued for war on Iraq.”

Toronto Star’s art critic Peter Goddard wrote that “the coverup may have been prompted by UN realization that images of the mural’s vivid anti-war message were televised world-wide when it appeared as a backdrop to the Jan. 27 interim report by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix.”

The 6.7-meter tapestry was commissioned by businessperson and politician (Vice President of the United States under Dwight D. Eisenhower) Nelson Rockefeller in 1955 and placed on long-term loan at the UN headquarters in 1985 by Margaretta, his widow.

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