This article was translated by John R. Bopp
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, has explained in a press conference that this weekend, the UN realized that on its gift administration website, it has incorrectly identified the Republic of Spain as being behind the massacre at Guernica for “two or three years”, “a horrible mistake”.
It turns out that at the exit of the Security Council room at the UN headquarters, a huge, life-size tapestry reproduction of “Guernica” — 3.49 m × 7.76 m (11 ft 5 in × 25 ft 6 in) — hangs, commissioned in 1955 of J. de la Baume-Durrbach and on loan from the Rockefeller family.
This tapestry is one of the few reproductions personally authorized by Picasso, and was hung in September of 1985, being unveiled by the then-Secretary General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. The goal was for it to serve as a reminder of the atrocities of war in an organization who main goal is to “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”, according to the Preamble of the UN Charter.
Before this tapestry, many ambassadors and diplomats of UN member countries have addressed the press. And many other times, it has been witness to the miseries of international politics: it’s been “covered” on several occasions so as to not become an uncomfortable background for the representatives of bodies that wish to start wars or conflicts.
As we can seen in the transcription of the press conference offered by this spokesman on September 16, the UN has apologized for the mistake and put the page “under maintenance” until the mistake can be corrected.
World media are widely covering this mistake and its correction. And it is in these reports where two very serious “conceptual errors” can be detected.
The first comes from the statement of the spokesman, which, when referring to the Guernica bombing, says, “We know full well that the Republicans were the victims, not the perpetrators.”
No. The victims of that bombing and of the whole war were not “the Republicans”. The victims were the people who were in Guernica that day, regardless of their political beliefs. No distinction between the victims of one side or the other can be made in that war. There were only victims, all of whom died as a consequence of the military insurrection led by the enemies of Democracy and of a legal and legitimate government, unlike the regime that lasted over forty years and had a seat at the UN, despite being illegal, immoral, and murderous.
The second major gaffe seems to come from the author of the AFP article, who for some reason decided to call the insurgents “nationalists”. This mistake in the nomenclature of the rebels has been repeated in media across the world, as they used the AFP report as the basis for their own articles.
No. The insurgents were not “nationalists”, or even “nationals”. The name that should be used to refer to them, as journalist George L. Steer did in his chronicles, is “rebels”. We could also use “delinquents”, “perjurers”, “insurgents”, or any like synonym. But “nationalist” should never be used, as that was the term they called themselves in order to cover up their criminal profile.
The problem with using “nationals” to define them is compounded when translated into English, as the term “nationals” is often rendered as “nationalist”, which is the same term used to define those political movements in the Basque Country, Catalonia, or Galicia, where they are fighting for the sovereignty of their nations. However, in the War of 1936, these same “nationalists” allied with the Republic to face off against the insurgents in order to defend Freedom and Democracy.
A while back, we highlighted this in an article we called «No eran “Nationalists” eran “Insurgents”, o simplemente “Fascists”» (They weren’t “Nationlists”, they were “Insurgents”, or simply “Fascists”).
This error gets even more absurd when the news was translated into Spanish, as the term is not translated back into “nacionales” as it should be, but rather as “nationalists”, compounding the mistake.
In the end, a reader from the other side of the world, after reading the article using these incorrect terms, might end up thinking that Lehendakari Aguirre was responsible for asking Guernica to be bombed.
Fortunately, some media have substituted the term “nationalist” with “Francisco Franco”, giving a much clearer perspective that is closer to reality.
AFP – 16/9/2019 – France
La ONU corrige “un error horroroso”: los republicanos fueron víctimas en Guernica, y no culpables
La ONU pidió disculpas al gobierno y al pueblo de España este lunes al admitir “un error horroroso” en uno de sus sitios web, que señalaba a los republicanos como los autores de la masacre de Guernica, la ciudad del País Vasco arrasada por la aviación nazi y la Italia fascista a pedido de los nacionalistas durante la Guerra Civil española (1936-39).
FOX TV – 16/9/2019 – USA
UN apologizes to Spain for mischaracterizing bombing that inspired famous Picasso painting
The United Nations apologized Monday for mischaracterizing Pablo Picasso’s famous anti-war painting “Guernica” in a tapestry reproduction on its website. The large oil painting – on display in Spain’s Museo Reina Sofia – depicts the violence and chaos following the devastating April 26, 1937 bombing of the Basque town of Guernica at the hands of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.