I have lost count of the arguments I've seen coming from people trying to establish the worse form of government: atheistic or theistic. The strangest thing that I have observed is that religionists, mostly Muslims, seem to support atheistic leaders like Stalin, even more than atheists, themselves. This really does strike a chord, doesn’t it? I mean it definitely weren’t the atheists who started that pathetic trend of ‘Hitler was right’, right?

Anyhow, in the wake of such enlightening arguments, I’ve decided to present to you two models of great political influence: North Korea and Turkmenistan. For the duration of this article, I plead to you to forget if you’re a believer or an atheist and just let the principles of these two great countries sink in. After you reach the article’s conclusion, you’re free to slump back into your regular state of thoughtless social media scrolling. Deal? Okay then, let’s do this!

North Korea… where do I begin? Oh, it’s by far the most interesting country I’ve ever read about, and God does it make you wonder!

North Korea is an atheist state but not by choice. Freedom of religion is heavily discouraged, to the point where religious North Koreans can land in Auschwitz style prison camps for life – and that’s not even the worst part. When an accused religious citizen goes to jail, he doesn’t go alone but all of his family including toddlers are also forced to go to jail for that individual’s “sin”. Officially, North Korea grants its citizens freedom of religion, freedom of speech and every other form of freedom but it is virtually non-existent in practice.

Let me show you how the North Korean government controls its citizens into submission and compliance to its moronic ways. For starters, no North Korean can ever travel out of the country. If you are born in North Korea, you must die in North Korea – and this is not just an official legal statement. North Korea has barbed electrical wires running all around its borders to hinder citizens from fleeing the country. Any women who succeed in fleeing to China are repatriated to North Korea by the Chinese government, even though the Chinese government knows full well about the terrible atrocities committed to repatriates in North Korean. Hey Pakistanis, reconsider your worship of China, please.

If you’re still not convinced let me tell you what happens when a person is repatriated to North Korea. If it was a man, torture reconditioning camp for life; if it’s a woman then the same fate but God forbid if she’s carrying a child by a Chinese man the fetus is immediately aborted no matter what stage it is on. And if it’s a baby: good bye, dead baby.

The world might never even get to know the real extent of the atrocities committed in North Korea because the entire country has no access to Internet. Let that information sink in for a moment. No Internet, no outside information available. All textbooks are heavily translated versions including unending praise of Kim Jong-un, the “supreme leader” of the country.

The North Korean visa is the world’s most difficult to get (and you thought the US’s visa was a tough one). And if you’re a foreign journalist, it’s out of the question, altogether. Should you manage to get a tourist visa, you will never be allowed to travel alone and will always be accompanied by a state sanctioned guide. You are also mostly confined to your prison cell-like hotel rooms, and are not allowed to carry cameras, nor to communicate with the North Korean nationals. The citizens have been inter marrying for generations now to remain pure blooded (no “muggles” allowed – Kim Jong-un is the real-world Voldemort). 

Another interesting tidbit about North Koreans is that they aren’t allowed to watch any of the international TV or channels. Their radios, too, come with a special tweak, which disables any efforts to get international radio frequencies or send any out. Also, if you’re caught watching any South Korean movie: bam! Jailed for life.

Religion has always been heavily suppressed in North Korea, with the excuse that it is a tool in the hands of imperialistic dictators. That might be true, but when North Korean politicians say so, it might be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, because they themselves are no mean imperialistic dictators. In reality, suppressing religion was the best way to ensure communism thrived in the country. The North Korean state only favors Chandoism as its official religion, which is less a religion and more a cult of personality revolving around its political figures.

Lastly, food and stipend is rationed among all citizens and you can only get your miserable share from the government. The citizens aren’t even allowed to farm. Also, there are only a handful of cars allowed in the country for officials and if you go on Google maps, you’ll see glaringly deserted roads with public buses and a few cars scattered here and there.

North Korea only allows its own form of sports festival, which will be the most amazing spectacle you’ll ever see. From school children practicing hours every day for the entire year to become human advertising boards, to gymnasts who work in a continuous fluid formation in hundreds. You wouldn’t see that level of dedication anywhere but in a slave nation.

Now that I’ve dissected the disgusting state of North Korean life, let us go ahead and delve into the disgusting state of affairs in Turkmenistan, a Muslim majority country.

Turkmenistan does not officially favor any state religion but in effect only Sunni Islam and Russian Orthodox Christianity is favored by the state and any other religious activity is heavily criticized and severely punished in the country. Going back a little into the history of the country, Turkmenistan was ruled by President for life, Saparmurat Niyazov.

 In 1999 Niyazov conducted elections in which the only party allowed to contest was his own and then voila, he won the elections with a staggering majority! Need I say that he was a part of a communist party? During his reign of terror, he was known in the world as one of the world’s most totalitarian and repressive dictators who committed countless atrocities during his political era. Niyazov was an electrical engineer but when he went to Russia for further studies, he was expelled for academic failure (a feat that is no doubt an unavoidable debacle if most Pakistani government officials tried it).

The most interesting thing about Niyazov is probably his infamous book Ruhnama. This abhorrent piece of literature is his autobiography and he mandated it during his reign for all citizens to memorize it. Memorizing the Ruhnama was a condition for passing the most standardized tests and even to obtain a drivers license! Niyazov’s narcissistic personality didn’t stop at this, as he proceeded to rename many towns and name several monuments after none other than himself. He also had gold statues of his self erected nearly everywhere and had the Ruhnama constructed as a gigantic form and placed in the center of the city of Ashgabat. Passages from the book would be recited passages through loudspeakers every day. As one journalist quips, that must have been the time when most of the suicides in the city happened. I can almost imagine people pulling their hair out when the recitation of the book started.

Wait a moment, now that I remember he even had a meteorite named after himself. Also, names of the months and days were all renamed after famous Turks. Just imagine having to remember that. “Oh what day is today?” “It’s Moustapha and the month is Ataturk.”

Like Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan survives only because of its oil and gas reserves, while its leaders follow dumb economic policies and carry out countless human rights violations, en route. In Niyazov’s defense, he did put a decree granting free use of water, gas, electricity and refined salt for 10 years. This decree has now been extended till 2020.

Let’s turn towards the human rights violations clause, now, shall we? Turkmenistan has never in its entire history respected human rights. The president’s cult of personality was nearly the same as Kim Jong-un’s. Turkmenistan only allows state-owned television channels and all Internet licenses also belong to the government. 2004 was probably the country’s worst year as almost 15,000 public health workers were dismissed and all the hospitals in the country were shut down, so that all the country’s citizens had to come to the capital for medical treatment. The cherry on top – yes, there’s more – is that the president replaced the doctors’ Hippocratic Oath to an oath of loyalty to himself.

Furthermore, all the libraries in the country were closed because, according to Niyazov, the citizens needed only to read the Quran and the Ruhnama, which suffice all human purposes. In 2006, one third of the elderly people had their pensions discontinued because Niyazov believed that the elderly didn’t deserve to get anything if they were not giving anything to the society. As a result, a major percentage of elderly people died due to starvation and disease.

Another masterstroke of Niyazov was that he used to pardon thousands of convicts every year on Laila-tul-qadar to cleanse the world of evil, releasing thousands of murderers and rapists into the open who should have been killed instead – but oh wait, he already abolished the death penalty.

Here is a list of Niyazov’s most hilarious decrees:-

  • Banned lip syncing in concerts because it kills the talent (Good one, Niyazov!)
  • All dogs were banned from the capital because Niyazov didn’t like the odor.
  • Outlawed opera, ballet and the circus for being un-Turkmen like.
  • Banned men from sporting beards or long hair
  • Banned news reporters from wearing make up on television as it became hard for him to distinguish between males and females.
  • No gold teeth were allowed; people should chew on bones to strengthen their teeth because he saw dogs doing that and their teeth were just fine.

But, grieve no more as Niyazov finally died in 2006. I am ashamed to say that our prime minister of that time, Shaukat Aziz attended the funeral with all honors. Well, since when has Pakistan been a champion of human rights, anyway?

If you think that the religious country, Turkmenistan, isn’t all that bad as compared to the atheist one, North Korea, concluding that atheism must be much worse, then you are overlooking the atrocities committed by countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Eretria, towards human life. The only reason for choosing Turkmenistan was just that it was the most absurd, not that it had no competition in human rights violation.

To conclude this blogpost: free atheists of today would never support any of these atrocities committed today but, sadly, most religious people would relate to a lot of them – supremacy of religion over human rights, no freedom of speech, no freedom of any kind whatsoever if it clashes with their religion.

Anyone can have power and abuse it but damned be those who support the perpetrators.

For more information on life under atheist rulers, Google: “life in Sweden”.