Ever since the insubordination of Lucifer, there has been an ongoing battle between Good and Evil in God’s Eden. History is full of the antagonistic battle between these two formidable forces.
In Panama, Evil prevailed for more than 21 years with a military dictatorship which started with General Omar Torrijos in 1968 and ended with General Manuel A. Noriega in 1989. A lot of blood and suffering was unnecessarily spilled during those long years. It’s an experience all Panamanians wish to forget as brighter days lie ahead.
Other countries have had their own quota of suffering with unpopular and cruel dictators. Names like Caligula, Nero, Attila and Hitler come to my mind. A tyrant that very few people know about is Saparmurat Niyazov, the president of Turkmenistan located in Central Asia.
In 1991, after the fall of Communism and the USSR, Turkmenistan found itself independent for the first time in a hundred years. The new president, Saparmurat Niyazov, was the obvious successor—he’d been the Communist Party’s puppet governor since 1985. But easing a country of five million people into a new era of self-sufficiency and autonomy was not the highest item on Niyazov’s agenda. He was more concerned that decades of Soviet control had left Turkmenistan with no national identity. So, in 1993, Niyazov took it upon himself to create the country in a new image: his own.
First, he took the name Turkmenbashi (Leader of All Ethnic Turkmen) and declared himself President for Life. Since then, he undertook scores of bizarre measures to make Turkmenistan a very unique place. Let’s take a look at some of these crazy measures:
- The new president renamed the months. January is now called… Turkmenbashi. April is called Gurbansoltan edzhe, after his mother. (Bread, once called chorek, is now also called gurbansoltan edzhe.)
- In April 2004 he ordered the building of a giant ice palace in the middle of the desert, the Karakum-–the hottest location in central Asia. It would also include a zoo with penguins.
- The airport in the capital city of Asgabat was renamed…Turkmenbashi.
- The name of the large port city Krasnovodsk was changed to… Turkmenbashi.
- Dozens of streets and schools across the country are now called… Turkmenbashi.
- In 1998 a 670-pound meteorite landed in Turkmenistan. Scientists named it… Turkmenbashi.
- The image of Turkmenbashi’s face is used as the logo of all three state-run TV stations, and is legally required to appear on every clock and watch face as well as on every bottle of Turkmenbashi brand vodka.
- In April 2004 the youth of Turkmenistan were encouraged to chew on bones to preserve their teeth rather than be fitted with gold tooth caps or gold teeth.
- In 2004 it was prohibited for news readers to wear make-up.
- In February 2005 all hospitals outside Asgabat were ordered shut, with the reasoning that the sick should come to the capital for treatment. All rural libraries were ordered closed as well, citing ordinary Turkmen do not read books.
- In November 2005 physicians were ordered to swear an oath to the President, replacing the Hippocratic Oath.
- In January 2006 one-third of the country’s elderly had their pensions discontinued, while another 200,000 had theirs reduced. Pensions received during the prior two years were ordered paid back to the state. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan strongly denied allegations that the cut in pensions resulted in the deaths of many elderly Turkmen, accusing foreign media outlets of spreading “deliberately perverted” information on the issue.
- Car radios, lip-synching, and recorded music were all prohibited.
- Dogs were restricted from the capital city due to unappealing odor.
On December 21, 2006, Turkmen state television announced that President Niyazov had died of sudden cardiac arrest. Niyazov had been taking medication for an unidentified cardiac condition. The Turkmen Embassy in Moscow later confirmed this report.
Let us be on the alert of keeping Evil away from our lives the best we can. Tyrants like this could emerge in any of our countries struggling for a change in the status quo if we’re not careful. Take a look at Venezuela and Hugo Chavez. Who knows what he will do next? The battle between Evil and Good continues. Good Day and Happy Halloween!