Friday, July 23, 2004

Tyranny and the Plague

A few weeks ago BRDGT noted that an epidemic of plague could be emerging in Turkmenistan and that health officials were poorly prepared to recognize it and treat it. Lack of controls has wrought fears that the plague will be transported to neighboring Central Asian states.

However, it appears the spread of the plague is not simply a matter of a post-Soviet system breaking down. As ISN reports, the government in deliberately preventing information about the epidemic from coming to light: ANYONE CAN BE ARRESTED FOR REPORTING THE PRESENCE OF THE PLAGUE.
Ashgabat clinic worker Jeren, who would not give her full name, told IWPR, “Our head doctor called a meeting recently and ordered us to go from house to house, warning citizens that if any one of us said that there was plague in the city, they would be arrested and charged with revealing state secrets. As absurd as this sounds, we were forced to sign statements to this effect.”

The driving force behind this stupidity is nationalism and arrogance:
In spite of this, some Turkmen doctors claim that they have been ordered to "hush up" the potential problem, in keeping with President Saparmurat Niazov's belief that this is the "Golden Age of the People" in which nothing can possibly go wrong. One medic, who would not give his name, said: “The plague is here, but we have been forbidden to talk about it," adding with heavy irony, "But don’t you know it simply isn't possible that there could be an outbreak of disease in Turkmenistan? Everything here is fine!”


At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, even though the information is getting out, the US government has not posted a travel warning for Turkmenistan!


At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pro Med is reporting an outbreak of the Plague in the Congo as well.



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