Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Nero Has a Modern-Day Successor

And his name is Turkmenbashi, who seems to have just announced his own version of the Domus Aurea:

President Niyazov of Turkmenistan has ordered the construction of a palace made of ice in the heart of his desert country, one of the hottest on earth.
It is the latest in a series of colossal building projects instigated by the all-powerful president that seem to defy the country's environment.
"Let us build a palace of ice," said President Niyazov, "big and grand enough for 1,000 people."
The palace will stand in the mountains just outside the capital, Ashgabat.
President Niyazov made the announcement in a speech broadcast on Turkmen television, which in effect made it a presidential order.
On second thought, another comparison suggests itself:
In Ashgabat did Niyazov
A stately ice palace decree ...
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!"
Niyazov's megalomaniacal projects are just another reminder of the veracity of Lord Action's statement about the corrupting influence of absolute power.