Sunday, June 25, 2006

PARADE’s Annual List Of...The World’s 10 Worst Dictators

Here is the link to parade magazines top ten.
All are special in their infamy, but my favorite is #8 from Turkminestan. His name is Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov or you can just call hem "Turkmenbashi"
Niyazov is an authoritarian leader and is notorious in Western countries for the personality cult that he has established around himself in Turkmenistan. Claiming Turkmenistan to be a nation devoid of a national identity, he has attempted to rebuild the country to his own vision. He renamed the town of Krasnovodsk, on the Caspian Sea, Turkmenbashi after himself, in addition to renaming several schools, airports and even a meteorite after himself and his immediate family. Niyazov's face appears on all Manat banknotes and large portraits of the president hang all over the country, especially on major public buildings and avenues. Statues of himself and his mother are scattered all over Turkmenistan, including one in the middle of the Kara Kum desert as well as a gold-plated statue atop Ashgabat's largest building, the Neutrality Arch, that rotates so it will always face into the sun and shine light onto the capital city. Niyazov has commissioned a massive palace in Ashgabat commemorating his rule. He has been given the hero of Turkmenistan award five times. "I'm personally against seeing my pictures and statues in the streets - but it's what the people want," Niyazov has said.
The education system indoctrinates young Turkmen to love Niyazov, with his works and speeches making up most of their textbooks' content. The primary text is a national epic written by Niyazov, the Ruhnama or Book of the Soul. This book, a mixture of revisionist history and moral guidelines, is intended as the "spiritual guidance of the nation" and the basis of the nation's arts and literature. With Soviet-era textbooks banned without being replaced by new publications, libraries are left with little more than Niyazov's works. In 2004, the dictator ordered the closure of all rural libraries on the grounds that he thought that village Turkmen do not read. In Niyazov's home village of Kipchak, a complex has been built to the memory of his mother, including a mosque (est. at $100 million) conceived as a symbol of the rebirth of the Turkmen people. The walls of this edifice display precepts from the Ruhnama along with Qur'an suras.


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