dimanche 23 mars 2014

Uganda: Idi Amin Dada or the evil genius of Africa* .

 
The ogre who swallowed my grandmother!

         Before falling asleep, my two year old son loved that I told him one story: Little Red Riding Hood
by Charles Perrault. He could not close his eyes before I repeat him each night, the episode of the woodcutter with his ax extracted living grandmother from the bloody belly of the wicked wolf. He then told me sucking his chips, with an almost inaudible voice: "Good night Daddy". It was his way of exorcising his baby nightmares!

         When I was a teenager, my ogre to me was called Idi Amin Dada, head of Uganda. When he was ousted on May 11, 1979, he became my nightmare, while he was living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. With petrodollars, the Arabs could replace him in power. At his death, on August 16, 2003, the world pretended to forget, especially to clear their own mistakes for hosting, protect and especially helped to slaughter his people with impunity.
         Nobody imagine such a monster will never be judged to extend my nightmare. A court somewhere should try such monsters even after their death was only for that never happens anywhere in the world. Every year books are published on the subject, movies realized, but no author, no organization, nobody in the World demand for justice for the descendants of his 300,000 victims can finally grieve and heal the gaping wounds still open.
         And especially my nightmare can finally stop haunting me. As my son of two years, I need the mighty lumberjack retrieve my grandmother from the belly of bad ogre so I can finally sleep in peace.
That is why I have reproduced verbatim the excellent article by Michel Faure, which serves as an epitaph to the "Ugandan Monster".

The Ugandan Monster is dead, but where is Human Justice!

        
Died on August 16, 2003, the former master of Kampala was uneducated, brutal and cruel. His antics amused abroad, but from 1971 to 1979, his reign has left tens of thousands of victims. Story of a tyrant
         Uganda, the "Pearl of Africa" ​​of Winston Churchill was in the 1970s, a lost paradise ruled by the devil. This devil called Idi Amin Dada, a giant crude and instinctive, brutal and cunning. Malin, in every sense of the word. He was neither crazy nor stupid, or at least he was smart enough to know how his madness instrument of his power. He lasted from 21 January 1971 to 10 April 1979. The number of his victims is generally estimated at between 150.000 and 300.000 people.

"I have no remorse … Just a bit of Nostalgia"

        
Many were tortured, blown up in a group, or killed with clubs, their bodies thrown to the crocodiles of the Nile, their remains cumbersome turbines of Owen Falls hydroelectric dam or burned in the savannah, or left to the vultures. Other unfortunates were executed publicly  covered with a white apron for the blood is thus better visible. Others, again, held his head under water to drown, or suffocated by their sexes cut deep in their throats, or crushed by tanks inside the barracks. Idi Amin Dada, in turn, has died. It was August 16. He was in a bed surrounded by his family after a long and comfortable exile at Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, under the protection of a feudal system that has allowed him not to answer for his crimes before the law of men. It is not sure whether he feared that God, which he said he was a believer. "I have no remorse, he said, there a few years ago, in a rare interview. Just nostalgia".
        
The charm and comedy, home, often accompanied horror and have magnified. Abroad, he entertained a lot, when he wanted his "brother Richard Nixon" a speedy recovery of Watergate, he said, a day of Easter, Christ was crucified by "Zionist murderers", or that he sent a telegram to Lord Snowdon declaring that his separation with Princess Margaret of England was  “a lesson to all men, because you should never marry a woman over her condition".

A buffoon for foreigners, a nightmare for many Ugandans.

        
Many were those who saw him as a buffoon, or rejoiced that personnifiât so zealously their racist, and they understood none of this bastard child of two worlds for long irreconcilable-Africa and West. He also laugh those who saw him that he was also: the avenger, inventive and brilliant, colonial past humiliations, when he was carried in a litter by four white men at a reception for leaders of all continent at the summit of the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U.) in 1975, or he did kneel at his feet, about the same time, some British citizens who swore to be ready to fight under his orders to liberate South Africa from the imperialist yoke.
        
In Uganda, however, he did make anyone laugh. His compatriots at the time about 10 million people, lived in his terror and his terrible incompetence in daily fear for their lives and difficulties of every day face the rout of his "economic war." He said it , on August 5, 1974, after a dream in which God told him to do, he says in many speeches. He decreed upon waking expulsion under ninety days, some 40,000 Indians and Pakistanis, who controlled much of the trade of the country.

"Kill me if 're not happy with me"

        
Amin was a tragic figure in a volatile time. He made his political fantasies and nightmares a reality, the universe of beliefs and signs gradually lost its meaning became simple disorder in contact with the rational order of European imperialism. All Ugandans, attentive to the mysteries of dreams, the injunctions of superstition, had guessed and feared dictator also why. Sensitive to the strange logic of the irrational, they knew that their new master came from a world where magic still plays a big role, and he was not afraid of death because he had a another dream, in 1952, who had taught him how and when he died. Therefore, he said,"all attempts to assassinate me are vain". In March 1974, after having subdued a rebellion in a barracks near Kampala, he launched the soldiers this strange challenge: "Kill me if 're not happy with me". Nobody, of course, did not dare tempt fate and touch him and then decreed that "master of all the beasts of the earth and the fish of the sea and conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in general and Uganda in particular".

Kakwa father absent, witch mother Lugbara.

        
He was born between 1925 and 1928 - it is unclear the date of his birth -in Koboko district, a region of the West Nile, close to the former Zaire and Sudan. It is a barren and desolate place of stones on the hills we put to attract rain. Warriors corner before the fighting took a hallucinogenic drug derived from a local plant, a flower called kamiojo. Drink his tea , the "Yakan water" or "water of Allah" was supposed to protect against bullets. The little that is known about the childhood and youth of Amin, we owe the account given by his first biographer, British journalist David Martin, in a remarkable book, “General Amin” (published in London, 1974). Amin was that Ugandans in other regions call a "Nubian", a misnomer, but that means there a type North of Nilotic and generally Muslim origin, very dark skin. His father was a Kakwa and his mother a Lugbara, two neighboring tribes on the west bank of the great river. His mother, was known as a witch, separated from the biological father, when Amin was still a child. It was cause for concern, if not respect. She stood with her son in the region of Lugazi, north of Lake Victoria, where his people, who worked in the sugar cane fields belonging to one of the richest Indian families living in the country, the Metha. Then she moved into a garrison town in Jinja, still on the north shore of the great lake in Africa, where a regiment, the 4th of the King's African Rifles (K.A.R.) stationed. A corporal, Yasefi Yasin became the young lover of the aging witch. When he gave up, he died a few days later, suddenly, a mysterious ailment.

Assistant cook of King's African Rifles … heavyweight boxing champion.

        
This boy, Idi Amin, who comes from a world of fear, mystery, magic, violence, chaos, wandering, joined the King’s African Rifles in 1946 as an assistant cook. Here he suddenly plunged into another world, where the order and certainty, rules and orderly, that of a British colonial regiment. He is well fed, well dressed, walking in step. A good recruit, enthusiastic, and well that undisciplined. He is big and strong, zealous, and he left quickly furnaces to become a true soldier in the 1950s, when he will suppress, without qualms, the Mau Mau in Kenya. He also puts the pitch, around the same time, the Karamojong, a people who live livestock, tall, thin and naked, near the northern border with Kenya. He must disarm. His method is simple: he stand pastors, sex on a table. Amin, armed with a machete, threatening to castrate if they do not reveal their weapons caches. "A splendid chap, a great guy", tell his British officers, "though somewhat limited gray matter, perhaps".
         His supervisor, a Scotsman named Ian Graham, tell he took one day Amin, promoted to officer in a bank in Jinja, so there opens an account. The employee explained at length the young man what it was and the latter, for an hour, was exercised to sign with his name. Then, a little suspicious, he put his pay -13 pounds- on his new account. A few hours later, he had dug a discovered of some 2,000 pounds purchased after, in the main street of the city, a car and a sewing machine, a new suit and a crate of alcohol. He had to be satisfied with difficulty, to make new acquisitions and the bank no longer honored his checks when they were not countersigned by Graham.
        
The good negro uncultivated giant and debonair, is also a sportsman. He becomes heavyweight boxing champion of East Africa, in 1953 and sinking enemy defenses on the rugby field as he was on a battlefield. After the match, however, only black player on the team Rugby Club Nile, there is the door of the bar when the white drink their victory. When he decides, in December 1972, to nationalize British companies in Uganda, Amin include among them the famous Kampala Club, an English fort club inspiration colonial, which will be renamed "Government Club". It will be attended by Nubian mercenaries forming the bodyguard of President.

Gold traffic, ivory and weapons.

        
This is a fragile time and he is still young and already an officer when everything changes around him with decolonization, liberation movements and Africa is one of the strategic issues of the Cold War. Six months before the independence of his country, declared on October 9, 1962, he was a lieutenant, one of only two Black officers in the country. He is accused of massacring an entire village of Turkana-women, children and elderly included -a tribe of Kenya in perpetual war with their "cousins", the Karamojong of Uganda, whose quarrels perpetuate mutual cattle raiding. Britains are embarrassed. They evoke a court martial, but the timing is politically sensitive. They question the future Prime Minister, Milton Obote, a former professor turned nationalist politician, already appointed to govern the independent Uganda -a federation of ancient kingdoms-under the formal authority of an elected president, the king of Buganda, the Kabaka Sir Edward Mutesa II. Obote then suggests a simple reprimand. Despite precautionary British, he will then be Idi Amin's ally. He promoted him major in 1963 and colonel in 1964. He will probably also his partner in a lucrative trade of gold and ivory  military receives in exchange for weapons, from Congolese nationalists, who continue to fight the new Congolese government of Moise Tshombe and Mobutu Sese Seko.

The State of Blood!

        
Amin, in this case, acting under the orders of Obote, who supports the rebels. According to Henry Kyenda, former Secretary of Obote and Amin minister before fleeing in 1977 and write a fascinating book (A State of Blood) on the operation of power in Uganda during the years of madness, the fiery military does not forget his committees and then turns to his advantage the equivalent of $ 1 million. He lays 300.000, blandly at his bank. A close member of the Kabaka’s party “The Kabaka Yekka”, Daudi Ocheng, brandished a day in February 1966, the Parliament, a copy of bank statements and requires investigation. A few days later, on February 22, Obote suspends the Federal Constitution, dismisses the Kabaka himself and assumes the presidency. He arrested five ministers close to the king. Young people erected barricades on the road leading to the royal palace. Amin on the orders of his new president, attack and places the next morning to mortar rounds. The Kabaka fled (he died in exile in London three years later). He will say that thousands of his supporters were killed during the assault. The government concedes the death of 48 people. For Kyemba, the likely balance of 400 dead.

Many Ugandans educated then choose exile.

         Many Ugandans educated then choose exile. Among them, a very pretty woman, Princess Elizabeth Bagaya of Toro which finance his law studies at Cambridge by the model for fashion magazines in London. A few years later, when Obote, the enemy of his family, is finally overthrown by Amin, she returns home. The new president, who is said to be in love with her, soon appointed her Minister of Foreign Affairs. Then she fell into disgrace, probably for having rejected his advances. In November 1974, his former patron accused of having sex with a white man in the toilet from Orly airport, on the occasion of his official visit to France. Then a picture of her beautiful and naked, adorns the front page of the newspaper in the country, the only authorized and very official: The Voice of Uganda, “What a shame!" ton editorial. The young woman managed to flee to Kenya and escapes and probably the fate of his predecessor, Michael Odonga, whose body will be found, dismembered by crocodiles on the banks of Lake Victoria. Or that of a woman of Amin, Kay, whom he divorced in March 1974. Her dismembered body was found in August of the same year, in the trunk of a car.

The Strategic position of Uganda: a lost paradise ruled by the devil!

        
Following the independence of Uganda, British and Israelis have good reason to judge this country of great strategic importance. It is the source of the Nile, south of South Sudanese Christian region at war with the central government, and Islamic Khartoum. It is in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African giant and key player in the Angolan conflict, while unravels the link with Portugal. Their investments are then quite considerable, and they see an evil eye on Obote dirty trick played Kabaka sovereign pro-Western. They also worry speeches increasingly Third World and socializing the Head of State. Both keep foreign powers, however, good relations with Colonel Amin, to the point that we will wonder long about the exact role played by services in the events leading military power.

Two attacks and a coup

         On
December 19, 1969, Obote is the target of a failed attack and Amin, who had become chief of the army, fled his home when soldiers come to the gate of his house in Kololo Hill in Kampala, to warn of events. He later claimed to have also believed to be the object of attack. No. 2 of the army, Brigadier Pierino Okoya publicly accuses Amin of desertion. On 25 January 1970, Okoya and his wife are found dead, shot at close range in the garden of their home. An investigation Amin in his sights. He does not seem to care and continues to recruit and install all the key positions in the army Nubian soldiers, usually Kakwa, which are personally dedicated to him. In September, Obote escaped another attack. Finally he decides to get rid of Amin, but made ​​the mistake, when he was preparing to leave for Singapore, on January 11, 1971, for a summit of the Commonwealth, to require him to submit to him in returning a report explaining the mysterious disappearances of several barracks and weapons justifying that some 2.6 million pounds of the military budget. The instinct of survival of Amin encouraged him to take action during the absence of the Head of State. On January 25, at 15 h 45, Radio Uganda broadcasts the message NCO, Wilfred Aswa announcing in English laborious that the armed forces took power. Thirty minutes later, a second message states that they have asked Colonel Idi Amin to lead the country. Obote returned from Singapore landed in Nairobi, where he is not welcome, then leaves for Dar es Salaam, where his friend, the president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere offers him asylum.

Eight years of tyranny and public genocide.

        
Then begins a bloody reign in the jubilation of the Baganda rid of their nemesis, Milton Obote. London and Israelis are satisfied and the new strong man of the country is blessed, taking walkabouts almost daily through the streets of Kampala driving a Jeep discovery. His reign will last eight years. It opens with appalling massacres, even within the army, suffered particularly Acholi military, Langi and Itesos traditionally under many flags and believed to be loyal to Obote. Repression conducted by the Nubian killers of the three services to the balance Amin -military police, the State Research Bureau and the Public Safety Unit -will continue for several months and then resume with a vengeance after a failed invasion of faithful of Obote, from Tanzania in September 1972. It will be terrible for Ankole, people southwest of the country, who had the bad idea to welcome with joy the guerrillas of the former president.
         Bloody rituals, even cannibals are mentioned, strangely mutilated corpses. Also referred to heads of enemies killed stored in refrigerators of the dictator, although this has never been confirmed by credible witnesses. In Geneva in 1974, the International Commission of Jurists, an independent NGO, submit a report to the United Nations  estimating between 25,000 and 250,000 the number of people arbitrarily murdered since the coup of January 1971. Eminent personalities are removed, doctors, teachers, clergymen, businessmen, government officials and politicians. Among the first of them, we may mention, in September 1971, Michel Kagwa, a judge presiding the "Industrial Court", which deals with trade disputes, or in September 1972, Bendicto Kiwanuka another senior judge, Attorney General and former minister.

Ineducated tyrant, half illeterate, Chancellor of the Makerere University!

        
A month later, Frank Kalimuzo is murdered. He was Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, which was long the only university in quality between Cape Town and Khartoum. The prestigious college will soon see the indignity of the uneducated tyrant, half illiterate, dressed in a toga and a large collar, becoming, in 1975, Chancellor of the University and honorary doctorates from the science department policies. The author of these lines, then a young French volunteer in Kampala, attended this grim scene, and not soon forget the humiliation of students forced to receive their diplomas from the hands of the new doctor, or the dull light of the last, under a large velvet beret. It seemed brooding dark thoughts, and we did the same, for a little more than a year in 1975 and during the first months of 1976, watching the agony of a country overwhelmed by fear, by sharing its people a fright every day, a dull, constant anxiety, tempered for few foreigners that we were living in the illusion of immunity issue by a morbid curiosity and fascination towards the unpredictable dictator.

Between the Victoria Cross and the Cross of the Swiss ski.

        
Kampala, then, was a city in the unreal atmosphere that crossed bikers in full dress, perched on large displacement motorcycles Honda, practicing for weeks tirelessly to frame a parade of gleaming Mercedes purchased forecasting future summit of the Organization of African Unity, meeting in the Ugandan capital in July 1975. Amin, for his coup, was promoted to general and proclaimed marshal and president for life. He was awarded an impressive number of medals, including the Victoria Cross and the Military Cross, under military campaigns in Burma he had invented. He always wore, even when he slayed Israel, the parachutist wings he had earned during an internship in this country. And a Swiss association of ski instructors even acknowledged on several photographs of Marshal regalia, among its many charms, the Cross of the Swiss sports that delivered them their organization.
        
Amin saw the future O.A.U. meeting as his apotheosis. He took great care to prepare and multiplied activities to accompany the event. He  was well planned election of "Miss O.A.U." and a car rally, which was to participate Marshal person driving his Citroën-Maserati. Maneuvers military, on the shores of Lake Victoria, supposed to represent the attack of Cape Town, in South Africa, for the pan-African forces commanded by Amin, were also on the agenda. He was actually bomb, under the gaze of African delegates, diplomatic corps and a few guests, a block from the lake, a few tens of meters from the shore where spectators had gathered. Aviation passed dangerously close to the crowd quickly drowned in the smoke of explosions. Idi Amin also took advantage of the summit to marry with great pomp his fifth wife, Sarah Kyoloba, a former dancer of the famous jazz orchestra "suicide mechanized regiment" based in the town of Masaka . His story is tragic enough, because the young woman, aged 18 when Amin set his sights on her, lived at this time with a man whom she had a child in December 1974. Her lover disappeared, probably killed, and Amin claimed the paternity of the baby. Yasser Arafat was one of the witnesses to the marriage.

Yasser Arafat, witness the marriage of Idi Amin & Sarah Kyoloba.

        
During these joyous celebrations, neither milk, eggs or chickens whereabouts or the black market. Nor salt, or certain days of bread, and less drug. Electricity was often cut, rationed gasoline, water pipes leaked, spare parts missing, so that half the fleet of the country, they said, was inoperable. In the bus station in Kampala, buses remained motionless, awaiting repairs. For a few weeks in late 1975, beer production was interrupted because they can replace a German machine shut capsules. The barracks are on the verge of mutiny address this shortage of the preferred drink of soldiers, foreign exchange allocations necessary finally reached the Central Bank at the brewery. Toothpaste or laundry, however, never returned to the empty store shelves, as well as oil, flour and soap. Sugar or coffee, which produced Uganda, were also found and it was not the decree, signed in June 1975, nationalizing all agricultural land, which would fix things.
        
Military who inherited the store took in 1974 expelled the Indians did not take long to exhaust their stocks and did not know how to renew. On the shelves are often lined a single product, waxing or toilet paper, the content of the final boxes still in the back room. One of these new traders, who had been awarded a clothing store, looking at the label sewn into the neck of the shirts, which included the size, and you swore that this was the price that it had to offer. Idi Amin, meanwhile, had little better knowledge of economics. When his finance minister complained one day, during a cabinet meeting, the lack of money in the coffers of the Central Bank, he became angry and ordered him to "print more money". The inflation very quickly became rampant. The dictator, from time to time, visited the central market and was beaten in the street, large sticks, traders who increased their prices.

The Last King of Scotland "Booby bind"

        
The army and its approximately 20,000 men, they lacked nothing. They had sixty helicopters, 14 heavy tanks T 54 Soviet-made, 50 light tanks, nearly a hundred tanks and 6 Mig 21 sold by the Soviet Union. Libya had also provided them with tanks and Mig 17. Love of Scotland, which he proposed one day be king to free them from the yoke "imperialist" of the British Crown (you can read about this very pleasant novel by Giles Foden, The Last King of Scotland) Amin did equip a regiment of Nubians kilts and bagpipes, and made them march through the streets of Kampala, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the coup.

"Hitler was a great man and great conqueror".

        
Money now, had Libya or Saudi Arabia because, he was angry with the British and the Israelis. Moshe Dayan, who knew him well, thought he was "mad as a hatter". Muammar al-Gaddafi, who Amin visits in February 1972, so do not judge, and suddenly, the Ugandan dictator operates one of the reversals of alliances the most spectacular in the history of diplomacy. Following his visit to Tripoli, he signed with the Libyan leader a joint statement condemning Israel becomes suddenly both a friend and a loyal Moscow very pious hand to Mecca on pilgrimage, had built a large mosque in Kampala with money from the King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. He expels Israelis from Uganda in March  and offers them abandoned embassy Palestinian PLO representatives, to whom he granted diplomatic status. He bans miniskirts and wigs for girls. He finally made some public statements to sing the praises of Adolf Hitler "a great man and a great conqueror" who had "acted correctly", he said, killing 6 million Jews.
        
Israel was not the only victim of this diplomatic volte-face. Britain also made ​​fresh, and the British community living in Uganda (about a thousand people ) was virtually taken hostage when a 61 year old English teacher, installed for many years in Uganda, Dennis Hill, was arrested on 1 April 1975. He was accused of high treason and sentenced to death by a military court. He was accused of writing a book, “White pumpkin”, which had not yet been published, in which he treated Amin "village tyrant". The date of his execution was fixed for June 23, and Marshal announced that he would agree to discuss possible through with the Defence Ministers of Foreign Affairs or the queen, provided that they come to Kampala and accept his demands, the list was long. The Somali dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre, chairman of the O.A.U., then threatens to cancel the Kampala summit if Dennis Hills is executed. The Zairian Mobutu Sese Seko offers his mediation and English writer finally delivered on 10 July, to James Callaghan, British Foreign Secretary, who made the humiliating trip to Kampala.

The leak "fascist black "

        
The beginning of the end of the reign of Amin dates back to June 27, 1976, when seven pirates, two of whom are members of the German Baader-Meinhof group, away to Uganda Entebbe airport a aviond'Air France, connecting Tel Aviv to Paris. Amin treats them as if they were personal friends, and on July 4th, Israeli commandos freed 102 hostages, kill all the hijackers and destroyed through 8 Mig Ugandan military aviation. In response, Marshal murdered an elderly lady of 73 years, Dora Bloch, a hostage who had left the hijacked plane in Entebbe Kampala to be hospitalized in Murago hospital after collapsing. In 1978, Amin chose the headlong rush and sent his troops to attack a Tanzanian enclave in Ugandan territory, Kagera, west of Lake Victoria. Early 1979, they are dislodged by the joint forces of Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles. Despite the support of Libyan troops, Ugandans can not stop their offensive against. On April 12, 1979, Kampala grave, and Amin fled first to Libya, then Iraq and finally Saudi Arabia. Soon, Milton Obote returned to power with him and, alas, the massacres will long continue.

A fake hero, mentally disturbed, a world evil genius!

        
It is sad to recall today Idi Amin Dada was for many in his glory years, a hero of Africa, a champion of the Third World and the Arab cause, he was applauded by Blacks American radicals, he held in his arms Anwar Sadat and Muammar al-Qaddafi, Hafez el-Assad and Yasser Arafat. Although two leaders of the continent, Julius Nyerere in Tanzania (which dealt Amin "fascist black") and Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia (which was deemed "mentally disturbed"), saved their honor by refusing to attend the summit of the O.A.U. in Kampala in 1975, all the others were elected president of the organization and he became, as such, for a long year, the official spokesman of Africa. When in October 1975, Amin went to the United Nations, bedecked, his marshal's baton in his hand, and he has read his speech by one of his ministers because he refuses to speak English, "language of the imperialists", he is wildly applauded by the General Assembly. It must be remembered, too, he was courted by Moscow, Havana, and Beijing, for some time, Paris, who then dreamed of setting foot on land formerly British Africa. Georges Pompidou received kindly the tyrant at the Elysée Palace, and Jean Sauvagnargues, Minister of Foreign Affairs, invited him to lunch with Princess Bagaya. Paris agreed, at the request of Amin, censor few moments of the film was devoted filmmaker Barbet Schroeder, and we could see no cuts in London at the same time. If Amin, as was once said Mohamed Siyad Barre, is “ an authentic African child", then the rest of the world was also his evil genius.
_____________________________
*Based on the Article by Michel Faure published in French on 28/08/2003 under the title: Idi Amin or misfortune of Uganda.

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