November 20, 2017

Holy Turkmenistan! President Bans Libraries

By LJ Staff

President Saparmurat Niazov of the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan has banned public libraries, along with opera, ballet, cinemas, and even circuses, according to a report from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). Organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the International Helsinki Federation have protested Niazov’s decision, which he explained to cabinet ministers thusly: ‘No one goes to libraries and reads books anyway.’ In the former Soviet Republic, most literature in libraries is printed in Cyrillic, but since 1996, schools have been teaching in a Latin-based alphabet. According to IWPR, only the national library survives, so, as Niazov has said, it can preserve new literature in Turkmen as well as historical texts.

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