A death announcement is not generally regarded as good news. Well of course it isn’t. That’s a rather facile thing to say. But every now and then there is such an announcement that brings relief, hope and possibilities.
And 21st December brought one such announcement: President Saparumat Niyazov ‘Turkmenbashi’. Total dictator, madman and general nightmare for pretty much anyone (including the tiny Christian Turkmen community with whom we have one or two indirect links). He has been one of the most authoritarian leaders in the world.
He apparently ushered in Turkmenistan’s Golden Age – hence golden statues of him around the place (the main one in Ashgabat actually revolves in order to reflect and face the sun). Does that ring any bells (Daniel 3 anyone?)? Quite apart from the grim realities of the regime, he did institute some pretty bizarre things:
- no men with beards or long hair (although that’s probably fair enough)
- absolutely no music in public or anywhere else (now that is not fair enough) – this includes not listening to a car radio – ever
- building an ICE PALACE in Ashgabat, when the climate doesn’t exactly lend itself to this sort of thing
Who knows what will happen next – let’s hope and pray that it is not a situation of better the devil you know… But there is hope that something positive could happen. Let’s pray for it…