News, Weather, Mozart, Sports, Eurovision Love Ænema & Perverted Videogames from Vleeptron

NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

My Photo
Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

08 October 2005

loony toons

golden statue of
Turkmenistan President-for-Life
Saparmurat Niyazov
(photo by Czech biochemist
& traveller Jakub Mikulastik)

Tuesday 23 August 2005

Turkmenistan bans
recorded music

President Niyazov is known
for giving eccentric orders

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov has banned the playing of recorded music at all public events, on television and at weddings.

In a decree, Mr Niyazov said there was a need to protect Turkmen culture from "negative influences."

This is the latest move by the authoritarian president to minimise foreign influence in the isolated former Soviet state, analysts say.

He has already banned opera and ballet, describing them as "unnecessary."

'True culture'

Mr Niyazov's decree was published in the official daily newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan (Neutral Turkmenistan).


* banned opera and ballet
* forbade long hair or beards for young men

* banned car radios

* required video monitors in all public places
* closed all hospitals, except in the capital, Ashgabat

* renamed some calendar months after the president and his mother

It banned sound recordings "at musical performances on state holidays, in broadcasts by Turkmen television channels, at all cultural events organised by state ... in places of mass assembly and at weddings and celebrations organised by the public."

The president was quoted by the newspaper as saying the move [was] aimed to "protect true culture, including the musical and singing traditions of the Turkmen people."

And in comments broadcast on state television, Mr Niyazov told his cabinet:

"Unfortunately, one can see on television old voiceless singers lip-synching their old songs.

"Don't kill talents by using lip-synching ... create our new culture."

Personality cult

Mr Niyazov -- known as Turkmenbashi, or father of the Turkmen -- has ruled the desert state since the Soviet times.

He has created a vast personality cult around himself, issuing decrees regulating behaviour in all walks of life.

In 2001, Mr Niyazov -- proclaimed the president for life -- called for youths not to get gold tooth caps, also urging a crackdown on young men wearing beards or long hair.

Pictures of the president adorn public buildings and his book -- intended as a moral and spiritual guide -- is compulsory reading throughout Turkmenistan.

To many, his rule is alarmingly authoritarian, BBC Eurasia editor Catherine Davis says.

People who know him say he appears to believe he was sent by God to lead his nation into what he calls a "Golden Age," our editor says.

Beyond the elaborate building projects in the capital lies an impoverished country, where surveillance is commonplace and any public opposition a rare event, she adds.

- 30 -


Anonymous DespicableTeacher said...

Oh no! So no singing at his funeral either...?

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

One of Hollywood's biggest studio czars was Harry Cohn, who ruled Twentieth Century Fox largely along the model of Stalin or Ghengis Khan. When he died in 1958 he threw himself a huge funeral, denuding Southern California of its gaudiest flowers, and crowds, hoards and throngs of tens of thousands of people mobbed the funeral home.

The screenwriter Nunnally Johnson, who had worked for Cohn, wrote about the funeral in a letter to his friend Groucho Marx: "Well, Groucho, it's like Harry himself always used to say: Give the people what they want, and they'll turn out in droves."

Anonymous JakubM said...

I have taken the picture when visiting Turkmenistan in 2001. It was also published in the February 2003 issue of the "Le Monde 2" journal when they ran a cover story "La fin des dictateurs". They compared the regimes in North Korea, Turkmenistan and Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Your article is accurate, however it is not possible to describe all the absurdity of life in Turkmenistan in a few paragraphs. Just a few more facts:

:: Knowledge of Turkmenbashi's prophetic book is required when applying for driving licence.
:: The biggest mosque in Central Asia was recently built in his native village. Its walls are decorated not by quotations from Koran, but from his book.
:: A 75-meter high tower stands in the centre of the capital. There is a huge golden statue of the president on top it that follows the sun.
:: The capital city of Ashgabat is all marble and gold, but apparently it is not good enough -- there are plans to build a new capital in the middle of the central desert on the shores of a huge artificial lake, which would be filled up with water diverted from the Amudarya river (goodbye Aral Sea).
:: The laws of physics do not really apply there: despite the searing heat of Central Asian desert, a new complex of palaces will be built above Ashgabat -- from ICE...

And the list continues on and on.

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

I'll have to rely on memory here, but in Woody Allen's movie "Bananas," the guerrilla revolutionary overthrows the tiny Latin American nation, and makes his first speech to his people from the balcony of the presidential palace. He decrees:

* All men who are not yet of the age of eighteen, are now eighteen.

* Everyone will change his underwear once every hour, and you will wear them on the outside, so we can check.

There were a few other balcony decrees ... I'll have to rent the movie and watch it again.

Jacub ... your trip to Turkmenistan has made me very jealous. I want to see the Golden Statue. Statues like that have a habit of not standing for very long.


Post a Comment

<< Home