This month provided us with an amusing example of risk and reward in the central Asian state of Kazakhstan. Tourist visas to Kazakhstan have increased tenfold since 2006 according to foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov. Why? The comedy film "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan". “Borat”, played by Sacha Baron Cohen was criticised by the government of Kazakhstan as being a risk to their national identity. The film was seen as sexist, racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic and was initially banned in Kazakhstan for its offensive portrayal of the state. Nonetheless, according to a report in the Sunday Times, Kazykhanov told parliament this month, “I am grateful to Borat for helping attract tourists to Kazakhstan.”
In an unfortunate turn of events last month however, the ghost of Borat continues to haunt the people of Kazakhstan. During an international shooting tournament in Kuwait, the Kazakhstani gold medallist was humiliated when the organisers of the event accidentally played the Borat version of Kazakhstan’s national anthem which included lines such as:
“…Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region…”
“…Kazakhstan number one exporter of potassium…”
See our Youtube link for the full anthem and lyrics.