Turkmenistan’s strange dictator Niyazov has ordered the closing of all hospitals and libraries throughout his country, the BBC reports, except for those in the capitol, Ashgabat. This order is only the latest in a string of increasingly weird actions by the self-styled Father of All Turkmens as he continues his main policy of self-aggrandizement at the expense of his oppressed subjects:
Reports from Turkmenistan say President Niyazov has ordered the closure of all the hospitals in the country except those in the capital, Ashgabat.
The order, announced by a government spokesman, is part of the president’s radical health care policies. Thousands of medical workers have already been sacked under the plan. …
President Niyazov apparently took the decision to close the hospitals at a meeting with local officials on Monday. “Why do we need such hospitals?” he said. “If people are ill, they can come to Ashgabat.”
After building numerous statues and monuments to himself around Turkmenistan and sinking a good portion of his country’s assets into a marble-and-gold mosque in Asgabat, Niyazov has apparently run out of money for the luxuries, such as a medical industry. Perhaps this reflects a failure of his Eurocorporate toadies to sell his book in sufficient numbers to the Western masses, or maybe Niyazov believes that bringing sick people to Ashgabat to gaze upon his shrines to himself will miraculously cure them. We can now expect a health-care crisis to arise from untreated sick Turkmen in the outskirts of the country, a situation that will spread to nearby Afghanistan and Uzbekistan as people flee for medical care, if not Iran, which probably has better border patrols.
If ever a man needed a purple finger these days, it would be a Turkmen. I suspect they’d know exactly what to do with that finger, given half a chance, too.