Friday, December 07, 2007

Giving in to their Homoerotic Love of Dictators

French broadcaster TF1, majority owned by construction, energy, and cellular magnate Martin Bouygues produced a program which reasons of favoring a business to a state long known to be brutal and corrupt. The documentary was so far out, it had to stay in the can.

The big network TF1 has kept in the closet a program that it will never run. It is a plateau television she has done for the sake of a dictator. Bakchich-TV published the best excerpts from the video, and discusses how TF1 took liberties with their own ethics.
The story begins in 1996, at the offices of the giant BTP and owner of TF1, Martin Bouygues. The group Bouygues then concocted a fairy tale about a small republic in Central Asia that’s rich in natural gas: Turkmenistan. Its president, Saparmurad Niyazov, then offers the French company a 200 million concrete contract for a mosque in the desert, a palace, and a parliament building. To be specific, let's get clear the fact that it’s a ghost parliament, as Niyazov was classified by Amnesty International among the worst dictators of our time. Before his death in 2006, the man has had time to be elected by parliament as president for life, to imprison incommunicado and tortured his opponents, to give months of the year the names of members of his family, to prohibit freedom of the press, and the expressive arts, as they were deemed “contrary to the spirit of the people"
Niazov is not a democrat, but signed contracts with France’s BTP. So when he landed on an official visit to Paris in September 1996, his closest French friend, Martin Bouygues, began right away to flatter his cult of personality.

The builder is mobilizing its selling point, it is the only one to have: TF1, Europe’s leading television channel. Bouygues promised Niazov a prestigious program devoted entirely to the splendor of Turkmenbashi, "the father of the Turkmen" (as he renamed himself). The studios TF1 are mobilized to turn out an exceptional effort. Martin Bouygues himself, and TF1 and Gaz de France CEO Patrick Le Lay are sitting facing the President Niyazov, which to be interviewed by the deputy news director of TF1, Jean Narcy. The title of this special edition to run in primetime: "Turkmenistan and its economic future! Wow.

The show begins with images as generic as one can get since the founding of the ORTF, in 1964: a picture of Paris, peaceful, with the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, and on top of that the sound of a loud fanfare that sent the gladiators in the arena of an Italian peplum. It's stale and has everything that would put TF1 viewers to sleep punctuated with fast-flowing images to flatter Niazov!

Then comes a 45 minute long disturbing interview. Jean Narcy, forgetting that 50% of the Turkmen population is unemployed, continues to ask the dictator about his country’s wealth. Probably quite shocked, Niazov returns the flattery by describing TF1 as the "most powerful force in television in the world, and the largest carrier of culture." What the CEO of TF1, Patrick Le Lay, reply with is doubly impertinent: speaking of Turkmenistan as a "country at the crossroads of the world's great movements," the television quoted Turkmen as "the memory of a people and a civilization ", and suggested that the Father of the Turkmen should help, (don’t laugh,) "to produce programming devoted to his country and its culture." Unsaid is that we know that the President Niyazov, culture is restricted to folk music and readings officially imposed on schools and universities, a book of thoughts which Niyazov himself authored, and whose quotations adorn buses.

Poor Niazov! Narcy keeps the viewer from dozing off with a long speech without rhythm or relief. Narcy droned on but earned his salary: he goes on to give the floor to the boss of Gaz de France, invited and jumped in himself to discuss… gas, and then the construction contract by Bouygues: a Conference Center open to the Turkmen population. He even goes into the importance of culture and welfare of the population not just once, on the occasion of this historic interview, he’s even asked the Turkmen president to give his position on the opponents and journalists he had jailed.

What was so funny about it? That Niazov took the interview very seriously, although it is being run by his friend French. The stage and the actors are real, but they know very well that there would be "special edition" on Turkmenistan running on French television. Once Niyazov was gone, the TF1 recording of the broadcast was carefully locked away.
No pipeline, no problem!

So where is the false outrage of the likes of Michael Moore for this kind of “national champion” business with a red “hey, let’s get into cahoots” line to a national government? No-where. It doesn’t flatter their ideology or prop up their illusions about a “Bu$hChimpyHitlerburton” straw-man hiding under the bed, lest you hand them your brain. After all, you know that only Americans les Ricons do that!

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