Luxembourg is hoping that the joint Benelux bid for the 2018 World Cup will put the Grand Duchy on the map. Some countries really have to strive to get some publicity. Others spend dollops of public money on branding and advertising campaigns on international networks like CNN then try to retract the campaign only to find that they cannot. Others decide that the best way to get everyone's attention is by developing a nuclear bomb and not keeping mum about it. Then there are those countries that just never go away no matter how much you wish they would vanish for a while...
One country that will probably be the star of November is Kazakhstan. It's still October and we are almost a month away from Borat's new movie but the Kazakh government is already in the news. First we had the great spelling mistake in the banknotes issued by the Kazakh central bank. More than spelling it was a typographical error as to the proper representation of the letter K. Apparently the one on the notes is reminescent of the USSR.
Then there is the reaction to Borat's guide to America (Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan). The Kazakh tob nobs did not cut too good a figure when they issued an official complaint. Now the Deputy Foreign Minister has done a little bit of backtracking and invited Sacha Baron Cohen over while going so far as saying: "We must have a sense of humour and respect the creative freedom of others." That's two points to Kazakhstan and nul points to the MLP machine that reacted to Tanti Burlesque's cartoons.
Unfortunately Otau - Kazakhstan's largest chain of cinemas - will not show the Borat movie. They consider the movie "offensive, a complete lie and nonsense". Mr Sultanov the distribution manager concluded his justification of the movie shutout with these words:
It's a shame that probably some Americans will probably believe what they see there.
Which makes me wonder. Who is the daftest? The insulted Kazakh or the gullible Duh!merican. They just won't vanish will they? And yet... hope springs eternal.
BBC on Kazakh Banknotes
BBC on Borat and Kazakhstan