His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, 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, in the early 1970s. Photographer unknown.
Another on the list of best movies made in the 2010s, Last King of Scotland is an absolute masterpiece of film making and everybody should watch it, but as always, I am hear to talk about the politics. Firstly, everybody should watch this movie because it is all about how the West relate to Africa conceptually and how deeply fucked up it is (as well as being a great deconstruction of the White Savior) but for now I want to talk about Idi Amin.
Idi Amin is generally depicted as a comic figure in the west, a crazy madman with delusions of grandeur and of course plenty of racist undertones, but the movie plays him deadly seriously, he is a very scary figure but also a very likable one. When we meet him, we want to be his friend, we want to Idi Amin to like us, despite having a cartoonish silly vibe to him, he is extraordinarily charming and feels like he is one of us despite being an corrupt dictator. And this sort of goofy charm is part of what Trump is using, though obviously Amin is far more adept at it, Trump is like a crap Amin. But to battle Trump we need to understand what makes him tick, and why some people like him.
Cause what Amin does very well is when confronted with needy emotionally upset people, is make them feel loved, when he is with Nicolas he can utilize considerable charm and focus it on him, he makes Nicolas feel appreciated and valued, that while everybody else in the world thinks that Nicolas is a selfish narcissistic racist dilettante who values his vanity more than human life, Amin makes Nickolas feel like he is in fact the most important person in the world, that Nickolas’s inflated sense of self worth is in fact entirely justified and only Idi Amin understands that. Every time these characters interact Amin is telling him “Stick with me, and all of your negative selfish impulses can be validated”. When offered between feeding his own ego and actually doing his fucking job as a doctor (an non glamorous, difficult, and humble job) Nick of course takes the former. Particularly since Amin plays off Nickolas’ legitimate sense of resentment towards the English, just as Trump plays off his bases legitimate experience of classicism, but mixes it with bigotry, egotism, and a sense of entitled right to power.
And of course, it inevitably back fires, because Amin will flatter Nickolas when it suits him, but ultimately it is all part of his own ego, the moment Amin doesn’t want to face an uncomfortable reality, he will lash out at those closest to him without a second thought, because that is how narcissists like Amin or Trump operate. If you look at Trump Regrets, you will see what I am talking about.
Finally, I think the subject of ignorance in the film is interesting, Idi Amin doesn’t know anything that isn’t military or social, he has no idea how medicine, architecture, diplomacy or basic statecraft operates, and when ever confronted with the actual realities of being in charge of a nation he gets bored and delegates to somebody else. Nicholas is slightly more aware of actual policies than Amin and feels complimented when Trump…i mean Amin asks him for help, which hides the fact that Nicolas himself has no idea what he is doing. BUt both of them want to believe that they know more than everybody else, and as long as they mutually compliment each other, they can. Because Amin plays to Nickolas own ego, he turns a blind eye to the fact that Amin is a petty cheat who always wants everything to go his way, like the swimming pool scene or all the stuff with Oswa.
And thats just with a scot, with his own peple Amin promises a sense of pride that the British took even though all he is giving them is pain and suffering the notion of your country being great is a hell of a drug
No one in the West was protesting when the government in Zimbabwe was killing its own people during the Gukurahundi In fact Britain loved Robert Mugabe so much that they knighted him You only started seeing sanctions and talks about regime change in Zimbabwe when Mugabe enacted land reform that was meant to correct the negative legacy of colonialism They did the same thing with Idi Amin He only became a monster in the eyes of the Western media when it was apparent that he couldn’t be used as their puppet
“I am not a politician but a professional soldier. I am therefore a man of few words.”
“Sometimes people mistake the way I talk for what I am thinking. I never had any formal education—not even a nursery school certificate. But sometimes I know more than Ph.D.s because as a military man I know how to act. I am a man of action.”
“I am the hero of Africa.”
“You cannot run faster than a bullet.”
“In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.”
“Although some people felt Adolf Hitler was bad, he was a great man and a real conqueror whose name would never be forgotten.”
Idi Amin Dada- The president of Uganda, responsible for more than 500,000 deaths. He wore so many badges and medals that half of them were fake, like cardboard cut from cereal boxes. I wanted to present this tidbit in a darkly ironic fashion.