Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Facts of Idi...

Idi Amin Dada (1924-2003), Uganda's eccentric, dictatorial leader from 1971 to 1979, gave himself this title: "His Excellency President for Life Field Marshal Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, King of Scotland, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular." The Conqueror of the British Empire, or "CBE," is a title he bestowed upon himself after the British shut down their embassy and severed diplomatic ties with Uganda. The "Dada" part of his name is of unknown origin, though it is not imagined to reference the art movement. Some say the nickname was acquired while serving in Kenya; every time he was caught with a woman in his tent, he pleaded that she was his "dada" (Swahili for sister), in order to be let off the hook by his commanders. Rumors of Amin's purported cannibalism have never been substantiated. His affinity for Scotland however, is well documented, in life, as in the new (not so great) film The Last King of Scotland. After he was removed from power in 1979 he escaped to Saudi Arabia where he lived until his death in 2003. His regime is said to have killed somewhere between 80,000 and 500,000 of his own people.

What is it about these charismatic, despotic leaders? They never clue in to just how cracked they are. They always want to return and believe their people still need them. In 1989, Amin, and who never expressed remorse for the abuses of his regime, attempted to return to Uganda, apparently to lead an armed group organized by Col. Juma Oris. He went as far as Kinshasa, Zaire, where Mobutu forced him to return to Saudi Arabia, where he died in 2003. Although it was threatened, Amin never faced a war crimes tribunal, which can not be said for his brother in blood, Saddam Hussein. On a side note, how is it that Idi Amin can efforlessly sidestep the murder of half a million people, while I am held to the furthest extent of punishment for every single parking ticket I get?


Blogger pigatschmo said...

The film about Idi Amin is worth seeing, if you're interested in him.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the film: The Last King of Scotland "not so great" in your opinion?

11:11 AM  
Blogger Pablo Gazpachot said...

IMO, a gigantosaurus of a subject matter, butchered by some very amateurish filmmaking, in short... There was no sense of cause and effect, no sense of space outside the frame (unlike say Hotel Rwanda which succesfully portrayed a bubble in a beehive), no genuine terror. Too many tired storytelling and film conventions and manipulations, not enough chaos or logic. Forest Whitaker will get an Oscar nomination for this role, but I felt he was too cuddly, too generic, and gave too narrow a performace. This is a story that needed to shake and rattle audiences with a good dose of the actual complexity and chaotic vitality of life in Africa. Instead it just felt tired and formulaic.

8:41 PM  

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