August 23, 2005

Outlawing lip syncing?

Turkmenistan's president bans lip synching. This follows bans on opera, ballet, gold teeth, and restrictions on long hair and beards. Saparmurat Niyazov's cult of personality has always been a bit weird, but seeing lip synching as a threat is sure evidence of deep thinking about the future direction of his nation. All hail Kibo!

The fearless leader has also banned recorded music on TV and at live events. I'm starting to see a trend here! In fact, "radio and television programmes are dominated by performances of his own poems and philosophical writings set to music." Must be a fun country.

Ah yes, there are ongoing efforts to Turkmenify the population. They recently celebrated Melon Day and the fearless leader had a 300 square meter rug commissioned entitled "The 21st century: the epoch of the great Saparmurat Niyazov." That's ego! (Of course, by writing this, I have virutally eliminated the possibility of visiting Turkmenistan without getting to visit a finely crafted prison cell for a couple of days. Darn!) On the other hand, they granted citizenship to 16,000 refugees from neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan so they are at least responsible in that way.

Are there other good Saparmurat Niyazov stories? Post them here!

Looking at the Wikipedia, there's also the closure of libraries and hospitals, replacing doctors with army constripts, building an ice palace in the middle of the desert, the statues of himself, the super-expensive mosque, and banning makeup for TV announcers. Sounds like a lower-rent, maybe somewhat friendlier, version of North Korea.

Oh yeah, and from the opposition website some English language news on Turkmenistan including banning converted LHD vehicles.

The government site is pretty interesting as well. The Visa application form is available online.

Posted by duver001 at August 23, 2005 10:56 AM