J-Lo: Hey, sorry for singing Happy Birthday to Turkmenistan dictator
posted at 10:04 am on July 1, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
In her defense, how could she know that Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was one of the most repressive dictators in the world? After all, it’s not as though he sits on the UN’s Human Rights Council, like Sudan and Cuba, who compete with Turkmenistan for that honor. After being hired to perform by the China National Petroleum Corporation, which has deep investments in the central Asian republic, J-Lo apparently couldn’t be bothered to Google her final destination:
Jennifer Lopez spent her Saturday night in the oil-rich Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan, where she gave an immediately controversial concert that ended with her and her dancers singing “Happy Birthday” to Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, whose human rights record is considered one of the worst in Asia. The above video, likely from Turkmenistan state TV, shows clips from the concert, Lopez waving to Berdimuhamedow and the customary fireworks show for his birthday.
The concert was hosted by the China National Petroleum Corporation, a Chinese state-run energy firm with huge financial interests in the country, including a massive oil pipeline. China, to fill nearly insatiable energy needs, has a rapidly growing presence in the region.
A statement released by Lopez’s representatives says that she didn’t know about Turkmenistan’s or Berdimuhamedow’s human rights record. That’s not entirely implausible: how many Americans can honestly articulate the differences between every post-Soviet, Central Asian republic?
Er …. any that bother to check before cashing the check? Anyway, J-Lo’s now very sorry she made that appearance, her publicist insists, although that check-cashing thing may not be on the table for penance:
Not exactly Marilyn Monroe quality anyway ….