I’m surprised no one noticed this! In the 2009 horror/comedy film Zombieland, there’s a brief cameo by Bill Murray. The scene takes place in his luxurious Los Angeles mansion, which includes among other things a painting of the comedian in full Turkmen traditional garb situated on the mantle of his fireplace. Clearly, the filmmakers find the getup outlandish, and I wonder how the idea even occured to them. But I’ll tell you this: if that painting’s real, I want it! ;-)
First of all, the geographical definition of ‘Central Asia’ requires further clarification. The few proposed definitions of the borders of the region can be broadly subdivided into two groups, each bearing its own connotations. The first, which goes back to von Humboldt and is favoured by many scholars outside the region, emphasises its common long-term historical heritage and geographical integrity.
Food means many things to many cultures, and many-a-time, foods themselves are seen as cultural symbols. From pasta to pirogues—pilaf to pad thai, national foods and cultural dishes nourish neighbors, invite friends, educate travelers, sooth souls, distinguish one traditional group from another and so much more.
On a grand and far-reaching scale, specific foods even have their own exclusive days, from National Cheesecake Day (July 30th) to National Zucchini Day (August 8th). Particular to Central Asia, in regards to national food days, Turkmenistan claims the famous day for Melons. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty educates:
“Since 1994, the second Sunday of August has been an official holiday recognizing the importance of melons in Turkmenistan’s culture and history.”
Berdimuhamedov has withdrawn from the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan’s leadership position and membership, saying that it is a necessary step to fulfill the necessary preconditions for an effective mutli-party system. His stated reasoning is that merging the party chairmanship with the presidency is not conducive to creating an equal and level playing field for other political parties, and moreover, that as president he intends to leave party politics altogether. He also suggested that other cabinet ministers should follow his example.
So, is this more political cosmetics, or substantive? The former Soviet union is filled with transcendental “super-presidents” (want to read a great book on the subject? read Postcommunist Presidents, published in 1997 and still basically valid). Berdimuhammedov’s decision could very well mark the end of communist-style totalitarianism, which basically followed an equation of People=President=Party, for post-communist-style totalitarianism, in which dominant parties are replaced by either “personalist” parties or god-presidents.
Will Berdimuhammedov’s eventual role be to supervise all parties? And as to elections, will he run as a canditate without a party? Or does he aim to become ultimately a king-like leader who does not need to elected? You know, that last idea is really worrying, as there are signs that he has been investing a lot of effort into his grandson…
Recognizing the wonders of city spaces, and the cultural and artistic mediums showcased within the city, Guinness World Records recently anointed Turkmenistan’s capital and largest city Ashgabat with an honorary distinction.
Eurasianet.org‘s Turkmenistan-focused blog, ‘Sifting The Karakum,’ with references made to TDH news agency, tells on May 25th, 2013 —the same day Turkmen parliament honoured President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov with the title “Distinguished Architect of Turkmenistan“— Guinness World Records’ editor-in-chief Craig Glenday “…flew in to present the distinguished architect with a certificate recognizing Ashgabat as the city with the most white marble-clad buildings in the world…” Turkmenistan.Ru says the document, delivered by Glenday, “recorded the world’s highest concentration of buildings lined with white marble.”
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In early July 2013, the Turkish city of Eskişehir hosted the ‘Days of Turkmenistan Culture’ event.
I guess each country has its own rules and habits of fighting corruption. Here is the Turkmen style, keeping in mind that our country has some of the most widespread corruption in the world.
In a practice dating back to Niyazov’s day, ministers are regularly sacked. But the current regime seems to like sacking ministers and workers despite successes. The heads of transporation infrastructure were dismissed for “failing to fulfill their duties” even though the first phase of a new rail has been started. Meanwhile, the grain return for 2013 is being praised for meeting targets — and voila, some grain workers have been sacked, likewise for dereliction of duty. Weirdly, these incidents have been presented as anti-corruption efforts.
Here’s what some of my fellow citizens have been observing. Basically, as bribery and patronage grows deeper in our country, it also grows larger, with even distant relatives of state officials asserting their “right” to special treatment, privileges, and a piece of the money pie. Call it “VIP syndrome”: for example, a relative of the head of the state agency for “order on the roads” (policing roads) is notorious for not stopping at red lights. So, it starts to become incumbent upon the central government to dismiss state officials in a public show of dishonor, effectivly denuding an entire clan or network of its VIP status in front of the public.
Still, there is one VIP whose family and friends will always be above such embarassment…
Was Jennifer Lopez’s performance in oil-rich Turkmenistan a successful a-political attempt to bring North American music culture, and pop-birthday culture, to this country’s Culture Week… or a show all gone wrong?
Guest Post written “Maxwell”:
As you all know that studying abroad a lot of Turkmen citizens. We have compiled a list of the countries where young people learn Turkmen.
NewEurasia received this communiqué, which makes us wonder how many people in Turkmenistan, who were members of other Soviet republics when the Union collapsed and got trapped inside the new Turkmen state, are officially registered with the government as “stateless”? (The photograph of the passport has been anonymized to protect the identity of its owner.)
I am so upset, actually angry. How much do you know about the temporary passports of Turkmenistan non-citizens?
A friend of mineis struggling to get out of country and she finally got a (useless) certificate, after so many years of writing to the President and waiting for a decision to get any sort of document that will allow her to go study abroad, and come back, since she also has her mother living in Turkmenistan.
My friend was not originally a Turkmenistani citizen. During Soviet times, they didn’t have to acquire any sort of special exit passport, just the standard Union common passport, and they were registered with a different SSR. But after independence, they had to give up their other citizenship and apply for the Turkmenistani passport — and they are still waiting for it.
In the meantime, they’ve received a temporary passport for non-citizens. And you know what’s written on it? “Stateless person certificate“.