Idi Amin was a brutal, twisted dictator, but to the kids I knew in Liberia and Nigeria, he was more than that. He was the personification of evil. Stories of his atrocities were told and retold, and acquired mythic status. The fact that he had long-since been thrown from power only increased his mystique — it was as if he might be wandering Africa, whispering into the ears of other dictators, spurring them to do terrible things. Certainly it was assumed that Samuel Doe must be on speaking terms with “Idi.” Either he had a special relationship with the Devil, or was the Devil himself.
Now he’s dead. About time. Though he’s been in a coma for a few years, he enjoyed a couple decades of luxury living in Saudi Arabia before that. The Saudi royal family really knows how to pick their honored guests, don’t they?