Wednesday, June 9 2010
Pinckney, MI, USA
It’s already been 6 months since I was last in Kyrgyzstan. As everyone who spent even one day on the road with me learned, I take a lot of pictures while traveling. When I returned home, unfortunately, that has resulted in countless hours reviewing and deleting photos. In my four months around Central Asia and the Caucuses, I took around 30,000 pictures. I’m still deleting.
Like its neighbors, Kyrgyzstan had a case of Presidential Billboard Syndrome (PBS). PBS manifests itself in poorly photoshopped pictures of the country’s president hanging over roads across main cities, provincial capitals, rural towns, and middle-of-nowhere roads. Clearly, more billboards equals greater respect and appreciation of the President. A main diagnostic factor in PBS is multitudes of children. Everyone loves children, no one more than the President of any country, particularly when he is embracing a faintly smiling crowd in a stadium or a field of cotton.
I expected the pictures I took of President Bakiev’s smiling face would be up for a long time to come. 5 months later, I imagine these non-environmentally friendly huge sheets of plastic are protecting someone’s home from rain, or is still laying along the side of the road.
With the focus on democratic change, I imagine the interim government has so far avoided PBS. That’s too bad for the advertising companies.
I’m told, however, it’s like the flu. As soon as election season and a new administration arrives, I would not be surprised if it’s back. The election may be all about the people and democracy, but the billboards will likely not stay away for long in some form.
- Returning to Kazakhstan
- Redefining Global Jewish Peoplehood
- ATID Graduation Speech
- Cheering for Joy and Reflecting on Justice
- Tres Hombres, The Next Act
- Appropriate it’s based in Turkmenistan
- Better Late…
- Good Job US Embassy in Kazakhstan
- Jews in the Steppe: An American Jew in Kazakhstan and Ukraine
- Dear President Obama
- SMS Kazakhstan