Turkmen on the turntables: concert of fantasy
Editor’s note: A fake Hip Hop concert announcement on the Turkmenet reveals something about the character of Turkmenistan’s young generation, and the complexity of hope, fantasy, and reality, reports neweurasia’s Annasoltan. “[I]f there’s a positive message to take away from this sad Valentine’s Day ‘gift’, it’s that the general response to the announcement indicates something of the real freedom that young Turkmen desires for their country,” she writes.
In a chat room in the Turkmenet, a Turkmen netizen announced a Hip Hop concert in Ashgabat for today to commemorate Valentine’s Day. The concert was supposedly going to host all the major stars of this young music and social movement. In the end, though, it turned out to be just a bad joke.
“It will be the first ever concert of such as magnitude that Turkmenistan has ever seen,” the netizen proclaimed. A poster announcing the event with date, time, venue, and even price for entry, listed the ZumerChas, Aragon, Hustle Squad, J-hoon and Jeyka as performers.
The reality is that it would be unthinkable that these stars would ever go on stage in Turkmenistan. Several of them are living and working abroad, and the Turkmen authorities would never allow such a performance, partially because they have a moral and ideological disagreement with the content of Hip Hop songs, and partially because, in general, they fear large gatherings — the stadiums and parks of our country often stand empty and forlorn.
“It can’t be true, although I would like to believe it,” wrote one netizen in stunned disbelief. “If such a concert would ever happen, it would probably take place in a closed hall and not in the Golden Age park,” referring to one of Ashgabat’s main events venues.
Many on the Turkmenet believed the announcement, commenting cheerfully on the announcement. It’s actually kind of tragic, as many young fans can’t wait to see their favorite music artists perform live, not to mention together. Indeed, many of them remarked that the concert was a sign of their country “moving forward” socially and politically.
The bad news came when CashLaw, one of the rappers whose name appeared on the poster, showed up on the forum and said that he was not aware of any such concert. The resultant awakening was bitter and devolved into disappointment.
There’s an even darker side. I asked the person who made the joke why he had done it. Oddly, he insisted that the concert is still taking place, even asking me, “You wanna come and see the concert?” If Turkmenistan is a land of unreality, some people have lost the ability to discern truth from fantasy.
Yet, if there’s a positive message to take away from this sad Valentine’s Day “gift”, it’s that the general response to the announcement indicates something of the real freedom that young Turkmen desires for their country. That’s not a fantasy at all.