On Thursday evening, I attended a State Department reception hosted by Under Secretary of State for Economic affairs Robert Hormats commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the OECD. The reception was supported by the US Council for International Business and featured Secretary General of the OECD Angel Gurria, AFL/CIO President Richard Trumka, US Ambassador to the OECD Karen Kornbluh, and some others.
Somewhat off topic though, a very large, strikingly colorful painting in the Benjamin Franklin diplomatic reception rooms caught my eye. The portraint depicted the monarch of Tunisia in 1865.
The plaque on the painting reads:
His Highness the Mushir Mohammed Essadek, Bey of Tunis
Portrait presented as a souvenir of his Friendship on November 1865 by his Envoy Gen. Otman Hashem, bearer of letters of condolence for the assassination of President Lincoln and of congratulations for the termination of the Civil War.
I don’t know how long that painting has hung in the Franklin Room — but certainly before the recent revolution in Tunisia.
I wonder if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned the painting during her recent trip to Tunisia.
But it is interesting to remember that 150 years, the American Civil War was just starting and the world watched with fascination and horror as a quickly rising, growing power engaged in horrific self-destruction. And at the end, governments sent notes of congratulations to the victorious side.
Something to keep in mind.
— Steve Clemons