Friday, May 13, 2005

Freak Watch - Saparmurat Niyazov - Part 3

It is a characteristic of totalitarian countries to destroy books that do not have the approval of the regime. In Turkmenistan that apparently includes all books, with the exception of the Rukhnama.

IFLA Blasts Turkmenistan Library Closings and Rights Violations
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) called on the government of Turkmenistan April 29 to rescind an order by President Saparmurat Niyazov to close the country’s libraries. The controversial leader declared that libraries are pointless because villagers don’t read, the Prima news agency reported February 11. “Nobody reads books, people don’t go to libraries,” he concluded. “Central and student libraries will remain; the remainder need to close.” Niyazov has also closed down all hospitals outside the capital of Ashgabat, as well as all national parks.
Why? Well we wouldn't want to interfere people's study of Turkmenbashi's own "Holy Book", would we.
The destruction of books and closing of libraries is apparently a part of Niyazov’s promotion of his own book of moral and philosophical musings, the Rukhnama. The Washington Post reported February 23 that the book is at the center of the president’s cult of personality, and everyone in the country who can read has been ordered to study it and pass examinations on it.

“If the Rukhnama were a benign text, like the memoirs of a U.S. president, this would be harmless,” Open Society Institute Specialist Erika Dailey told the Post, “but the Rukhnama is the principal instrument for indoctrination and brainwashing in Turkmenistan.”
I have added the Rukhnama to my "Voice of the Enemy" links.

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