Make My Day
I SUMMON THE POWERS OF NIYAZOV!
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACU.S.E, Ind. -- Forget what you've heard about the President of the United States being the "leader of the free world." Forget that he's the leader of the largest economy and most technologically advanced nation on the planet. President George Walker Bush -- or any U.S. president for that matter -- has never had as much power as Saparmurat Niyazov, President of Turkmenistan.
In case you've missed the coverage of the war in Afghanistan, and you can't fill in the blank on "United States __ America" in less than three tries, then you probably didn't realize Turkmenistan has been in the news a lot because it's north of Iran and Afghanistan. It's nearly the size of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan combined, with a population slightly bigger than Louisiana. However you probably still don't care about Turkmenistan, despite my attempts to expand your global awareness. But don't feel bad, I didn't know this stuff until I found it on the Internet yesterday.
Turkmenistan is not a highly developed country, and isn't a major player in the world's economic market. But we should reconsider how we treat them. Apparently President Niyazov has more power than President Dubya could ever hope for, even if he made Harry Potter his vice president.
Speaking of which, rumor has it that Harry Potter was on President Bush's short list of vice presidential candidates in 2000 until his aides convinced him it was impossible, since Potter is 1) too young, 2) not an American citizen, and 3) completely fictitious.
So what's Niyazov done that has the gods quaking in their high-backed executive leather thrones on Mount Olympus? Has he developed ultra-nuclear capabilities? Can he turn lead into gold? Has he developed some sort of ray that will make Britney Spears less annoying?
No, he has completely renamed all 12 months of the calendar to honor himself and his country. Not since Roman Emperor Julius Caesar renamed Quinctilis as July has any world leader tried to name one month, let alone all 12 after himself.
Niyazov, who is officially known as Turkmenbashi (from the Turkmen, meaning "I bash Turkmens") has decreed that January will be known as -- what else? -- "Turkmenbashi."
Niyazov, who actually prefers to be called "Turkmenbashi the Great" (or just "the Great" by his close friends and family), has named several cities, airports, and even a meteorite after himself. Unfortunately, this has lead to widespread confusion among the Turkmen people.
News announcer #1: This just in: Astronomers in the Turkmenbashi Observatory have revealed that the Turkmenbashi meteorite is on a direct collision course with Turkmenbashi airport in Turkmenbashi City.
News announcer #2: Which Turkmenbashi city was that, Turkmenbashi-News colleague?
News announcer #1: I'm not sure, fellow Turkmenbashi-News colleague. It was in Niyazov Province, but I don't know if it's the Niyazov Province by the Caspian Sea or the Niyazov Province by Amu Darya River. Let's go to our Turkmenbashi-Remote Camera and a Turkmen bystander.
Turkmen bystander: I haven't experienced anything so confusing since I visited Atlanta, Georgia and discovered every street, avenue, and road was named Peachtree!
News announcer #2: Evacuation plans have been announced, but citizens have not moved an inch, since they're not sure exactly which city of Turkmenbashi they should flee to or from.
And President Niyazov -- excuse me, President Great -- is on a roll. November will now be known as "Rukhnama," named after a spiritual guide he wrote last year. Other months will be known as "The Flag," "Independence," and "Mother," in a reference to -- what else? -- his own mother.
Before anyone claims that this is the stupidest thing they've ever heard, you should give President Great a chance. After all, he can make you younger.
On Tuesday, August 13, the Great Turkmen Basher decreed that people are still adolescents until age 25, and aren't officially old until they reach 85. This brought cries of joy and then violent coughing fits from the Turkmen elderly, since the life expectancy of a Turkmen male is 60, and a Turkmen female is 64.
Unfortunately, this will also lead to problems of personal freedom when 22-year-olds try to get married and start families.
New wife: But mommy, I want to consummate my marriage with my new husband!
Mother: Not until you finish your vegetables and clean your room!
Another unforeseen problem is the fact that since people won't officially be "old" before they start dying from old age, life insurance premiums will skyrocket.
According to President Great's 12-year life cycle plan, anyone between the ages of 25 and 36 will be youthful, 37 to 49 will be mature, followed by "prophetic," "inspirational," "wise," and "Good God, aren't you dead yet?!"
President Great, who is 62, is just starting the inspirational stage.
But don't think that President Great has let his authority go to his head, despite the fact that his face is on all Turkmen currency and schoolchildren pledge allegiance to him every morning (let's see the California anti-pledge atheist top that!).
No, President Great is still a humble man. Why, just a week ago, on Friday, August 9, President Great has apparently rejected the "president for life" mantle that was given to him by 2,000 members of the People's Council, the Turkmen version of Congress. The People's Council, who are personally hand-picked by the president, are apparently begging The Great Turkmen Basher to remain in office until his death.
"You like me, you really like me!!" said President Great.
Okay, he didn't really say that. What he said was: "Let's not make decisions concerning my personality. It's necessary to hold alternative presidential elections in 8 to 9 years."
Gosh, President Great, you must really care more about the political process than you do your own ego and life of luxury. After all, you're proposing to run for president when you're 70 or 71, which is only 10 or 11 years past the average life expectancy of a Turkmen male.
I'm just so impressed and awe-struck by President Niyazov's act of unselfishness and giving that I ... I ... I'm sorry, I just can't say it with a straight face. That's the biggest load of Turkmenbashi I've ever heard.