Saturday, December 30, 2006

Quote of the day: Thank goodness, there'll always be a Turkmenistan. Now what do you suppose the guy on the right in this Reuters photo is saying?


I didn't exactly read about what's going on in Turkmenistan, but did you see this photo? It was in black and white in Saturday's Times ("Turkmen Exile Urges Interim President to Step Down"). Here it is in color (click on it to enlarge it):The guy in the middle is the interim president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. If you actually clicked-to-enlarge, doesn't it look to you as if the guy on the right (i.e., to Gurbanguly's left) is saying something out of the corner of his mouth? Wouldn't you figure it has to be one of the following:

(1) "No, no, my dear Gurbanguly, of course you're Moe. All I'm saying is, I'm Larry, and the guy on the other end (Jesus, what the fuck is his name? even I can't remember more than four or five syllables of it) is Curly."

(2) "I think we're okay, Gurbanguly. I distinctly heard him say, 'Simon says, right hand over left nipple.' But if he gives us trouble, can't you just have him shot?"

(3) "If that's what you really plan to wear to Olympus Fashion Week, can't you at least find a different hat?"

(4) "You like this smile? I learned it from photos of the American president Bush. I talked to the great political tsar James Carville, and he says that with my looks and charisma, and the right amount of money, if I can just pick up some of the common touch, I would be a natural for the no. 2 spot on your ticket."

Okay, If you've just gotta know what's going on in Turkmenistan--

The actual photo caption in the Times was: "Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, center, Turkmenistan’s interim president, listening to the national anthem at a nominating session on Tuesday."

And here's the start of C. J. Chivers' story:
MOSCOW, Dec. 29--A leader of the Turkmen opposition in exile demanded Friday that the interim president of Turkmenistan step down and allow for democratic elections in the authoritarian Central Asian nation. But there were signs of disorganization and discord in the opposition ranks.

The demand, by Nurmuhkammed Khanomov, leader of the exiled Republican Party of Turkmenistan, was almost certain to be ignored. Interim leaders in Turkmenistan have been consolidating their hold on the country since the death of Saparmurat Niyazov, the Turkmen president, on Dec. 21.

Turkmenistan, an arid nation of five million, sits atop some of the largest natural gas reserves in the world and is strategically located beside Afghanistan and Iran.

A former Soviet republic, it had been led until last week by Mr. Niyazov, an autocrat who gave himself the name Turkmenbashi, or Head of All Turkmen, and built an elaborate personality cult. . . ."


At 12:42 AM, Anonymous Geoduck said...

Ted Rall's new book Silk Road To Ruin has a long essay on the now-dead former president. The whole situation is compelling in a can't-look-away auto-accident kind of way. (And whatever your opinion of Rall, the man has made several trips to Central Asia and knows, in this instance at least, what he's talking about.)

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the guy on the right and the guy in the middle are packing heat. That tells me a lot more than whatever might be coming out of the guy's mouth. Actually, I just think he's fat and old and unhealthy and holding onto his heart.

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous jerryb said...

I'm sure we have secret CIA prisons in that country so there won't be any elections in that country anytime soon.

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

The UN Security Council has finally passed a resolution ordering sanctions on Iran if it doesn't halt uranium enrichment

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