|Apparently there's no word in Turkmen for "collection development policy":
||[Oct. 19th, 2006|12:59 pm]
We just got a package from the "Ministry of culture and TV and radio broadcasting of turkmenistan", stamped with 16 postage stamps and literally falling apart at the seams.
The book, in English and titled "Rukhnama" appeared to be just some PR move by a country with a spotty human rights record , but as I researched it, it got even more odd.
On the 3rd page of the book, under a color photo, we learn that the book is written by "The President for Life of Independent and Neutral Turkmenistan".
A quick scroll through wikipedia confirms that the Prez for life is an oppressive dictator, not a nice man, and is very short (5'1") and wears a toupee, though reporters in the country are not allowed to comment on any of this.
So apparently, this book he sent us is all over his country (cribbed from wikipedia):
Rukhnama is the combination autobiography, historical fiction, and spiritual guidebook written by Turkmenistan's President for Life, Saparmyrat Niyazov.
Ruhnama is compulsorily imposed on religious communities and society generally. The work is the main component of education from primary school to university. Knowledge of the text - up to the ability to exactly recite passages from it - is required for passing education exams, holding any state employment, and to qualify for a driving license.
In March 2006 Niyazov was recorded as saying that he had interceded with Allah to ensure that any student who reads the book three times would automatically get into paradise.
An enormous mechanical replica of the book is located in the capital; every night at 8:00PM it opens and passages are recited with accompanying video.
And now he's sending it to American libraries so we may enjoy it, too. Thanks, Saparmyrat.