Ashgabat, 25 May 2011 (nCa) — The typical western journalist who travels to Central Asia and the professional pornographer are basically cut from the same cloth: A sick obsession with just one facet of life.
In fact, pornographers look quite respectable when compared with the so-called journalists who cover Central Asia on behalf of western publications, the publications that are struggling to survive in the rising tide of popular local publications and media outlets.
Quite possibly, the authors of smut would be offended for being compared to western journalists parachuting into Central Asia. They are right if they feel angry at this insult. After all, a pornographer is paid to write pornography but a journalist, at least in theory, is paid to report a wholesome, objective picture.
Looking from another angle, one feels pity for the typical western journalist. Like dinosaurs, they are blissfully ignorant of the extinction awaiting them just around the corner. By training and inclination, they are not suited to think locally and report globally. They are no match for the fast emerging news agencies and information services across the Central Asian landscape. A substantial chunk of business has already shifted to local players and more is flowing this way.
Viewing from yet another angle, one cannot fail to admire their unwavering devotion to trivial-mindedness. If their reporting could somehow be transformed into painting, it would look like a typical Picasso; both eyes painted on the same side of the face.
Here is the newest gem of western reporting on Central Asia, a piece of rubbish by Richard Orange for daily Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/turkmenistan/8533427/Turkmenistan-rebuilds-giant-rotating-golden-statue.html):
Turkmenistan rebuilds giant rotating golden statue
Ashgabat, 24 May—When the gas-rich Caspian nation began demolishing the “Arch of Neutrality” last August, it was taken as a sign that the intense personality cult surrounding country’s former leader Saparmurat Niyazov was at an end.
Niyazov, or “Turkmenbashi, father of all Turkmen,” built the Arch in 1998, placing a 39ft gold-plated statue of himself at its pinnacle. The statue revolved slowly throughout the day, so that the great leader’s face always caught the sun.
Last week, the new statue’s immense concrete tripod base had already been completed, and a crane hovered ready to put in the final piece — the gold rotating statue itself.
“It’s going to be exactly the same as before, only more beautiful,” said a workman guarding the site on Friday. “It will have a fountain underneath and a restaurant on the top, and yes, it’s going to revolve and have a statue of the first President.”
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who took over when Niyazov died suddenly in 2006, has moved to dismantle the Niyazov personality cult with frustrating slowness, only last month ending a compulsory exam on the Ruhnama, his predecessor’s self-penned holy book.
The statue is rising in Berzengi, a new district of ministries, museums and upscale hotels that takes the Turkmen capital’s grandiose architectural style — high-rise white marble with classical embellishments — to a new extreme.
“The government wants to make Berzengi the new centre, the new modern centre of Ashgabat, so the government wants to bring the statue of Turkmenbashi there,” said my tour guide. “Berzengi’s a bit higher than the rest of the city centre, so the Arch of Neutrality will be seen from everwhere.”
But shifting the statue away from the area surrounding the presidential palace, will also free Berdymukhamedov from his predecessor’s looming presence. Construction began at the end of last year, and is expected to be completed by the end of this one. A worker at the site said that the new statue would stand 290 feet high, while the last one stood 230 feet high. /// nCa / Telegraph
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