Yet another post in my "T.S. Eliot in the Wacky World Wide Web"
(TSE-WWWW) series (previously unamed):
Posted by the by MoorishGirl Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Turkmenistan. All I knew about the place was that it was an ex-Soviet
Republic and that it agreed to let George W. access its borders for
his war on the "forces of evil." This week, though, I'm seeing the
country and its leader in a whole new light.
Saparmourat Niyazov , an ex-communist who was elected president after
the fall of the USSR, was declared "President for Life" in 1999 by the
"People's Council." Niyazov was so happy with his new gig that he went
on a restructuring spree. To wit: He would henceforth be know as
Turkmenbashi (meaning, Head of All Turkmen) or Turkmenbashi the
Great. He decided that TV screens in his country would carry a golden
silhouette of the leader at all times. He names cities, stadiums, and
streets after himself. Next, he decreed that the months of the year
would be renamed. January would be named after him: Turkmenbashi.
Other months would be named after his political oeuvre, Turkmen poets,
or national leaders. In a tell-tale sign, though, he decided that
April would be named "Mother" in deference to his own mother, who died
when he was young. T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest month, and
seeing how Niyazov turned out, maybe he was right. Finally, he decided
to rename the stages of life. Adolescence lasts until the age of 25,
and old age doesn't kick in until age 85. Since I find that I am now
in my "youth" period, I think I like his definitions better. Can you
imagine conversations in Turkmenistan these days?
"Excuse me. Can you tell me the way to Turkmenbashi?"
"Why, just take Turkmenbashi down to Turkmenbashi!"
"Your little Turkmenbashi grows taller every day."
"Yes, he will turn 5 next Turkmenbashi."
"Do you Turkmenbashi?"
"Course I do, every day!"
I wonder what changes I would implement if I were a potentate...