First Pinochet dropped dead. Now Turkmenbashi has been promoted to Father of All Dead Turkmen. If deaths come threes among similar people, I'd be shitting my pants right now if I were Teodoro Obiang.

When I got to grad school three years ago and met my first Turkman (actually Turkwoman) I was introduced to the wonderful world of Saparmurat Niyazov (a.k.a. "Turkmenbashi" or "Father of all Turkmen"). I have always had a soft spot in my heart for dictators. Not the cruel, authoritarian military ones – the batshit insane cult-of-personality ones. And with Kim Jong Il quickly becoming less interesting as contact between him and the west increases, Turkmenbashi may have been the last picking-peanuts-out-of-crap crazy dictator left. He was a living answer to the question, "What would happen if we let Ol' Dirty Bastard run a country?"


Aside from the usual kleptocrat dictator fare (erecting golden statues of himself, plastering his face on every flat surface in the country, etc) he has had a productive career of codifying his bizarre eccentricities. To wit:

  • All hospitals outside of Turkmenistan's capital were closed last year.
  • He required all public servants to write articles lauding him
  • He has all the nation's doctors swear an oath to him rather than the Hippocratic Oath
  • All libraries outside the capital were closed because "average Turkmen don't like to read"
  • All schools based their teachings on his Ruhnama (a North Korea-style mixture of made-up biography, fantasy history, and awful poetry from the dictator himself)
  • He ordered the word for "bread" to be changed to the name of his late mother to honor her memory

    Yes, it's true that there are plenty of dictators left in this world. Just ask my friends over at Dictator of the Month. But there are very few isolated, deranged, "watch an entire nation dance to a lunatic's whims" types left. Goodbye, Turkmenbashi. You are part of a dying breed.

    Of assholes.

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  • 5 Responses to “GOD'S ON A ROLL!”

    1. Christina Says:

      Now…why did he close the hospitals?

    2. Christina Says:

      Now…why did he close the hospitals?

    3. christina Says:

      Feel free to delete one of those. ::sigh::

    4. Ed Says:

      I think the reason he closed them is that he is out of his damn mind.

      Something about how rural people wouldn't mind coming to the capital if they needed medical care….I think that was the official "reason" behind it.

    5. Christina Says:

      Oh. Makes sense if you're an olive shy of a martini, I guess.