Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has just unveiled Spain’s latest contribution to fostering global peace and security.

No, his government will not be sending more troops to help rebuild Afghanistan. And no, Spain will not be providing more vaccines to help needy children in Africa. Instead, the Zapatero government is the proud sponsor of a lavish decorative ceiling at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva.

Miquel Barceló, one of the world’s most highly paid abstract artists, was commissioned by Spain to redecorate “Room XX” and its ellipsoidal dome at the Palais des Nations. “The cave is a metaphor for the Agora, the first meeting place of humans, the big African tree under which to sit to talk, and the only possible future: dialogue, human rights,” says Barceló. Using postmodern rhetoric which closely mimics that employed by Zapatero, Barceló describes his new work as “reaching towards the infinite, bringing a multiplicity of points of view.”

As Spaniards debate the artistic value of Barceló’s ceiling, however, excitement has turned into anger as Spanish taxpayers learn that they will be the ones footing the bill. The 13-month redecoration project has cost more than 20 million euros, all of which is being paid for by Spain.

In a quintessentially Socialist way of doing damage control, Spain’s foreign-minister-cum-art-critic Miguel Ángel Moratinos refused to debate the cost because “art has no price.”  He said: “Only fools confuse value and price. This project is a new way of doing diplomacy and foreign policy.”



Hey, maybe Obama can commission paintings that will make all the terrorists put down their bombs and sing Kumbaya.  Sheeeesh 


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