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  • American in Turkmenistan wrote on August 14, 2007 report

    Tragicomic lack of professionalism in journalism.

    As an American citizen living in Turkmenistan it is disappointing that in "search" of jazz, he fails to note that an American Jazz group visited Turkmenistan in April and July of this year (Ari Roland Quartet). I saw them play at the British Pub. During their second trip they played several concerts with local musicians and played some songs that were a great blend of traditional Turkmen melodies in a jazz style. Both times that the group visited, they also received extensive coverage in the State-controlled news media. In July they made the evening news several times.

    It's surprising that none of this was noted by Sabbatini, especially since a Google search for "Jazz Turkmenistan" turns up press releases from the U.S. Embassy on the group's visits.

    I also found Sabbatini's commentary and descriptions of his visit to be overly dramatic. He exaggerated many aspects of the life in Turkmenistan. It is a very closed, isolated country, but Sabbatini went too far, probably for dramatic effect. He spent more time using outdated political commentary on the country, and trying to impress the reader with his visit to a spooky, scary country than he did collecting facts.

    And by the way, he uses a photo of Korean dancers without any explanation or caption -- is this just cultural ignorance? If it was taken in Turkmenistan, it might have been during an international festival in April or May with performers from many Asian, European countries and the U.S.