President Niyazov was mad, bad and dangerous to know – ruler of Turkmenistan from the fall of the Soviet Union until his death just before Christmas 2006 – and known as Turkmenbashi (= ‘Head of all Turkmens’). I posted about that event a bit as it happened.
But he’s reappeared on my radar this week for a couple of reasons.
- I have been preaching on early chapters of Daniel on Sunday evenings. Last Sunday we were in Daniel 3 and the famous burning fiery furnace. But the subject of the is not so much the 3 brave faithfuls, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego – but the despotic king, Nebuchadnezzar and the effect that these 3 had on him. And Niyazov is (if practically nothing else) a gift for preachers of Daniel 3. I used a number of pictures in the talk of some of the countless gold statues of himself around the country – of which this image is the most notorious: the Neutrality Arch, surmounted by a gold image of Niyazov that rotates every 24 hours in order to face the sun. Who says the OT is outdated and out of touch?
- Then yesterday, as it happens, the BBC reported that Niyazov’s successor has ordered the removal of this particular statue/obscenity from the capital Ashgebat. So at least there’s a degree of sense prevailing – not that this means that the tyranny has ended, merely thawed a little. So something good there at least. (HT Derek L.)
Just as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 confirmed, empires rise and empires fall – ’twas ever thus and ever will be.
The curse of Ozymandias strikes again.