Thursday, April 11, 2013

Entebbe and Idi Amin's Uganda

The infamous Operation Entebbe with simple, everyday people on board an aircraft. Instincts, gut feelings and still small voices would inspire decisions, or indecision. 
One or more would arrive late at the international airport, and having being delayed by traffic, miss their flight and go back home disappointed, if not frustrated.
One or more would curse the TSA under their breath and wish they could shunt the good-for-nothing-else-but-wasting-time airport security queues. 
For one or more, some stroke of luck, or God, would cause them to reschedule or cancel this reservation.
And all the others, 248 of them, would board the Air France flight. 
Maybe it would be someone's first time of flying in all his 60 years on earth. 
Or it would be someone's qualifying flight to reach a frequent flyer status.
Or someone was going to ask a friend to become a lover. 
Or a couple going to their honeymoon destination.
Or a group of friends taking a vacation, or spring break.
Or someone was pregnant.
Or someone had a fallout with a friend and was going to make amends when she got back ...
Simple, everyday people.

Okay, imagination aside, maybe I watch too many movies. That was me trying to identify with situations and emotions; how human beings tend to act just before a life changing or perhaps, even a life claiming event. I was reading an article about travel, and for some reason, the word "Entebbe" popped up in my mind. It made me drift for a moment and embark on thought-train routes into a classified military operation that became part of world history. I read that the hijackers of that airplane were Germans and Palestinians, which made a most nefarious yet perfect tag team with sworn animosity towards Jews and Israelis. I wonder what was in it for Uganda though and what made Idi Amin collude on 'staging' the operation, so to speak. That, I'm not very clear on.

Growing up, Idi Amin was a man who scared the wits out of me because I had seen a movie which portrayed him as a cannibal. My dad had a VHS tape called, 'The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin' and for the longest, I didn't even know it was a movie. This was of course before I understood that movies were acted. It was seemed very real to me. I had thought someone managed to record everything this evil man was doing. To this day, I remember a clip where he opened his fridge to show a human head stored inside, and another clip where he sliced someone's ear and put it in his mouth. Sick. But anyway, a most fascinating part I later read (believe me, in a sick way), apart from the numbers, hundreds of thousands of civilians that were killed in his regime, was this soi-disant title of Idi Amin's:

"His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular"

What a man. What a tyrant. What a terror.

Stories of men who misuse their authority, abuse people, and make such mockery of the term 'leadership' in Africa make one's skin crawl and many a time, I dare to imagine what life would have been like, in a different era. While my own day may still be a long road from perfect, it has come a long way from political unrest and unthinkable turmoil that older generations and even my own parents witnessed in a civil war. It's an unending occurrence of historical events, leadership and the world revolving that makes for progeny, and I as write this post, I light a candle for Jonathan 'Yoni' Netanyahu. Jared Angira's No Coffee, No Grave also comes mind, where the Kenyan poet writes:

who could signal yellow
when we had to leave politics to the experts
and brood on books
brood on hunger
and schoolgirls
grumble under the black pot
sleep under torn mosquito net
and let lice lick our intestines
the lord of the bar, money speaks madam
woman magnet, money speaks madam
we only cover the stinking darkness
of the cave of our mouths
and ask our father who is in hell to judge him
the quick and the good

Photo credits: Wikipedia

1 comment:

James Pharris said...

Entertainment that Educates.