Thursday, April 26, 2007

Statist wisdom from the Ruhhnama

The book written by deceased Turkmenistan dictator Suparmyrat Niyazov, required reading in virtually all areas of life.

"The state is the essence of the national spirit. That is why the nation state is the realization of the moral and spiritual values that belong to the nation and a symbol of the combination of unity with political will"
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"The nation-state is the historical method of realizing the essence of the national outlook. By means of a nation-state the values belonging to a nation are integrated. Such integration regulates national life historically and gives it direction. Establishing a nation-state is the expression of a nation's respect for its history and its trust in the future."

(goes on to say how the nation-state cannot be imported)

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"In no part of Turkmenistan today, is there any disagreement with or belittling of one another. There is political stability in Turkmenistan. All the ethnic groups live with a single view or understanding, that is, in friendship and brotherhood.

There are no political prisoners or restrictions in Turkmenistan.

We, in our independent and impartial Turkmenistan, have established our own national military forces to maintain national security, to protect and patrol our borders".

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Now let's see what the human rights community has to say about Turkmenistan:

from Amnesty International

Ethnic minorities such as Uzbeks, Russians and Kazakhs are discriminated against including through dismissal from their workplaces and through denial of access to higher education. President Niyazov stated in a speech broadcast in December 2002 that in "order to weaken the Turkmen, the blood of the Turkmen was diluted in the past. When the righteous blood of our ancestors was diluted by other blood our national spirit was low… Every person has to have a clean origin. Because of that it is necessary to check the origin up to the third generation." Over the last few years scores of senior officials belonging to ethnic minorities have been removed from their positions. Reportedly, people applying to institutions of higher education are checked to ensure that for the last three generations of their family there has been no non-ethnic Turkmen relative. It is practically impossible for anyone with a non-Turkmen relative in their family to be admitted to university.
...

The widespread violations of civil and political rights are not limited to those exercising or wishing to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and religion, and their families. According to information available to Amnesty International, torture and ill-treatment are widespread, in particular in pre-trial detention, and those targeted include detainees accused of ordinary crimes. Reportedly, no one has ever been brought to justice in Turkmenistan for carrying out torture or ill-treatment. According to available information, prison conditions fall far short of international standards. Overcrowding and unsanitary conditions are said to be common and to provide a fertile ground for the spreading of diseases.

....

The authorities have taken a series of measures to curb access to independent sources of information about Turkmenistan within the country and to prevent critical information from coming to the attention of the international community. All media is state-controlled. Turkmen journalists affiliated with foreign media outlets that are perceived by the authorities as critical of the regime, risk being subjected to harassment, arbitrary detention, beatings and being forced to emigrate. Foreign journalists have in many cases been denied visas to visit the country. Turkmenistan remains closed to independent human rights monitors, and in the past the Turkmen authorities deported several human rights monitors.(3) In addition, the authorities have targeted relatives of exiled dissidents in an attempt to stop those in exile from criticizing government policies and speaking out about human rights abuses in Turkmenistan"

1 comment:

klav said...

This book has the merit of showing how batshit-crazy Niyazov was. For having traveled to Turkmenistan, i can tell that most of what people hear from it is an understatement. You may compare it to North Korea, with a little more freedom to trade (i visited some markets that seemed (!) uncontrolled).

I don't really know what to expect from the new one - but if he wants to get as crazy as Niyazov, he's going to have a hard time.

Cool blog by the way. I'll keep on reading.