Thursday, December 18, 2003

I am the Cult of Personality
Straight from the land of the 'stans comes the world's most egocentric ruler. His name is Saparmurat Niyazov, but he is better known as Turkmenbashi or "Leader of the Turkmen". His rule over Turkmenistan is one part comical, one part ruthless. What follows is an incomplete list of his achievements.

-Has his own URL:
-Has written a bible of wisdom and guiding principles for all Turkmen to absorb and reflect on - called the Ruhnama.
-Has a promotional video available to promote the greatness of his Ruhnama work.
-Has a television station called "The Era of Turkmenbashi". On Turkmenbashi TV, viewers can watch unlimited programming dedicated to Turkmenbashi. One particular program, a western-style soap opera titled Turkmenbashi, My Leader, offers viewers a rich story "in which a Western woman moves to Turkmenistan and falls in love with it there."
-News programs begin and end with colorful verses dedicated to Turkmenbashi. The news presenter begins with:
"Good evening, nation of (Turkmen president) Turkmenbasy (Nyyazow) the Great! We start our Watan news programme by reciting these verses of Saparmyrat Turkmenbasy the Great, our teacher of patriotism: My sovereign country and my beloved homeland, You are the song of my soul and the spell of my tongue, My sovereign country and my beloved homeland, The crown is jewelled high on your proud head".
And the end of the news broadcast, the presenter signs off with this pearl of Turkmenbashi wisdom:
"Dear people, we would like to wind up our Watan news programme by reciting this sacred edict of our Saparmyrat Turkmenbasy the Great: May the world last forever and my great land within it, My green flag, fly high in the sky, Hello, my beautiful and young country, Have a prosperous life in the golden age".
-Has a city named Turkmenbashi. Find out what the weather is like in Turkmenbashi here.
-Like all good egocentric dictators, Turkmenbashi decorates the countryside with pictures of himself and luxuriates in splendid palaces. Here's some photos of him rubbing elbows with his people.
-Has renamed the months of the year in the calendar. January is now known as Turkmenbashi.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Here's another good webpage devoted to the great Turkmenbashi.


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