Everyone likes to imagine what they’d do if they were in charge for a day. Ban beards, bury all hybrid cars, convict U2 of crimes against humanity — it’s all possible if you wield the big power stick.
Well, Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedow is in charge, of the Asian nation of Turkmenistan at least, and he’s decided to ban all black cars.
Turkmenistan is a famously oppressive nation — and arbitrarily so, at that. Former President Saparmurat Niyazov once banned dogs, lip-syncing, opera and make-up for newsreaders. He also renamed days of the week, months and years after himself and his family, and had a 50-foot, gold-plated statue of himself made that rotated to always face the sun. He died in 2006, and Berdimukhamedow was his replacement.
Berdimukhamedow’s eccentricity might be mild by comparison to his predecessor’s. He reportedly believes that the color white brings good luck. He has a fleet of white Presidential limousines, lives in a white palace and apparently plans to cover all the major buildings in the capital, Ashgabat, with white marble.
Black though, it seems, gets him all riled up. He previously banned the importation of black cars to the country, telling those customers who had cars on order to send them back and get white ones instead.
But in keeping with his vision for a white Ashgabat, he’s now banned black cars from the capital entirely. Should you be unlucky enough to live in the city and own a black car, chances are you’ve woken up to find the regime towed it to impound overnight.
Don’t worry though, you can get it back so long as you promise to have it repainted white.