Monumentalism is the Worst

There’s another io9 post, again, about the Central Asian dictators’ penchant for massive buildings that also happen to distract attention away from their deteriorating human rights situation. This time, with Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, there is at least some introductory text, though describing Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov as having “won” an election is a sick joke. Saying the “new” government offers “free web access” in Ashgabat is sort of true, if you ignore the censorship and pervasive security monitoring. And the quip about “some discriminations and bans” remaining under Berdimuhamedov’s leadership is difficult to square with the years of, say, sentencing journalists to psychiatric prison for saying the wrong thing, or what actual exiled Turkmen have to say about the persistent, appalling repression there.

But please, if you’d rather just gawk at the fantastical buildings the unelected leadership has built with the pilfered energy wealth of the country as everyone else languishes in grinding poverty… please, be my guest you guys. Though at this point I’m left wondering, what on earth is prompting that site to provide so much endearing positive coverage to such abusive, oppressive places? I don’t get it.

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