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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Idi Amin: Your thoughts
Former Ugandan leader Idi Amin had died in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

Up to 400,000 people are estimated to have died during his presidency from 1971-79, and a whole generation of Ugandan intellectuals were either killed or fled into exile.

Under Mr Amin, Asians who dominated business in Uganda were given 90 days to leave the country, and their property was confiscated as he embarked on a programme to Africanise the economy.

He was ousted by Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles in 1979.

Did you experience life under Idi Amin? What are your memories? Send us your thoughts about the Ugandan leader.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

Your reaction:

Death in general is painful to hear but not Amin's because of his wickedness. Thanks that he his gone forever..
Nosa Edokpayi,

Thank God, Idi Amin is gone forever. God willing, the passing of this tyrant will now bring closure to the people of Uganda.
Jaward Sesay, Philadelphia

God will judge him as he thinks fit, I find that a terrifying thought. We reap what we sow.
Cathy Harrison., England.

I am a citizen of a Southern African country not too dissimilar to the Uganda of Idi Amin. One needs to take a step back and realise the greatest crime of the man was not in expelling people but in the countless thousands who could not leave and whom he had killed, raped and tortured. For them there is no voice crying out for justice nor satisfaction of revenge! Yet all of the suffering can squarely be placed on the western governments of the day and even now for failing to stop him and other despots. I sincerely hope the likes of Mugabe, Moi and Museveni the present Ugandan dictator are held accountable and the citizens of those beleaguered countries are given a chance for freedom. It's so sad that the double standards of western countries create these monsters
Kaushik Chauhan, UK

Waiting for dictators to die of natural causes, is a long time for victims to wait for that form of natural justice
Fred Ddungu, Uganda
I do think it is unjust that in this day and age we let people like Amin live life freely and die without any action on the part of United Nations as it does a grave disservice to the people who suffer under these regimes. As we speak now, Charles Taylor is peacefully sitting in Nigeria, Mugabe is starving his people. War lords are running freely in Somalia, rogue rebels running loose in and out Congo. If the UN wants to be relevant in Africa it needs to develop a strong arm that can shake down Human rights abuses. Waiting for dictators to die of natural causes, is a long time for victims to wait for that form of natural justice.
Fred Ddungu, Uganda

As a 4 yr old, my mother and her 5 little girls, went through a most gruesome ordeal with Amin's soldiers who'd come to kill our Dad. My Dad had been tipped of so luckily he escaped. We were not that lucky. My mum was severely dealt with while we watched. One of my little sisters was held up and thrown to the ground.... she too survived.

We survived this onslaught but lost several relatives during Amin's dictatorship. This experience led me to pursue a human rights career, but I'm still disappointed that states do not willingly give up dictators for prosecutions. This has greatly encouraged the impunity we see today.

The world watched Amin butcher his citizens and lifted no finger. It is even sadder that after 1979, he led a cushioned life in Saudi Arabia. This showed other dictators that they could kill and lead comfortable lives abroad. Governments should be punished for allowing dictators lead lavish lives in their territories.
Jasmine, Ugandan living abroad

The death of Amin should give the world the oppurtunity to reflect on the gratitude it owes Tanzania. At a time when the UN and other international agencies were parallasyed, Tanzania was the only nation prepared to make take on Amin. This involved great personal costs to the citizens of Tanzania and servely dented the national economy. Let us not just talk of Amin, let us also record our appreciation to the people Tanzania.
Jonathan Palmer, United Kingdom

The lasting legacy of Amin's rule has been the impoverishment of millions
John, UK
I doubt if Amin's death will be much lamented in Uganda beyond his own family and cronies from the past. The lasting legacy of Amin's rule has been the impoverishment of millions who are now more concerned with their own day to day survival than the life or death of the former president.
John, UK

Our western opinions should be spared, as we had no idea of what actually happened during his rule, other than indirect media info. And we should be the last to speak since it was us who brought this evil man to power in the first place and played buddies as long as it served our foreign policy. Expressing anger now is pure hypocrisy.
Dimitris, Athens, Greece

I feel angry at people who sympathise with one of the most brutal tyrants of recent times. Everybody who values human life should feel a chill down their spine that if a heinous men like Amin could be allowed to go free for his transgressions, then definitely this world is doomed. There is a funny defensiveness among some African people when one of them is branded a tyrant, and some Westerners too seem to feel kind of responsible for the crimes that were committed by their ancestors against the Africans like slave trade such that they blindly support African tyrants. Learn to separate issues, whether you are African or otherwise. One other thing, those who sympathise with tyrants never really suffered at the hands of such inhuman individuals.
Tadios Chisango, Zimbabwe

Idi Amin's death was given wide coverage by leading international news media, like BBC, CNN, TV5, etc., but all of them forgot to mention that Great Britain was the first country in the world to recognise Amin's regime in January 1971. They also forgot to show us the footage when Amin visited the United Kingdom and met Queen Elizabeth the Second. They mentioned the spectacular rescue of the Israeli hostages then being held at Entebbe International Airport by hijackers but somehow forgot to mention the good time Amin had when he visited Israel in 1972!
Boyi Yobbo, Uganda

It is quite unfortunate that Amin died without being made to answer charges of Human rights violations his regime perpetuated. One could say he got away with it all in the name of asylum granted him by the Saudi Arabian government, who was blind to all the atrocities committed by Amin in power. May his like never surface on the African continent again. Amen.
Akerele Adebowale, Nigeria

Idi Amin was given refuge in Saudi Arabia. Why, therefore, is Saudi Arabia still a friend of the West? What company are we keeping?
Sally Amis, Czech Republic

The way he lived his life remains for him and his God
Idis Yawal, Ghana
Idi Amin and the way he lived his life remains for him and his God. To the Western world, any homely African president that does not dance to their tune is a senseless, brutal and ungovernable president. Anyone who does dance to their tune is an intellectual president as long as he can give them chance to come and manipulate and extract the mineral resources.
Idis Yawal, Ghana

Idi Amin came to power through a coup, backed and supported by the British Government, against Milton Obote. Why? Because Obote committed the cardinal sin of anti-imperial Cold War politics: He declared a turn to 'socialism' and began championing the liberation of southern Africa from white imperialism. Obote had to be got rid of, and Idi Amin did the job for the British and Americans. The rest, as they say, is history. The once darling of the West becomes the tyrant of the south. Sound familiar?
Julian, UK

I feel that Idi Amin should have been brought to trial. President, Military Chief, CBE or whatever he called himself, a criminal and a murderer is a criminal and a murderer and should have been treated as such. By not bringing him to trial, justice has been denied to the hundreds of thousands of families who suffered under his misrule.
Sangpo Lama, Nepal

Please, tell me where he will be buried, so I could get a chance to let the pressure over his grave. He was a senselessly brutal and cruel dictator. The Gateway to Hell is widely open for receiving this monster.
Jan Andersson "Sir Galahad", Sweden

I am very sorry about his death. He had Uganda at heart. Though rumours have it that he gave Asians 90 days to leave Uganda, he ate people, killed opposition leaders (as if this is a new phenomenon in Ugandan politics), etc. How many days could you give a Ugandan whose visa has expired to leave your country? Amin has died innocent since NONE proved that he was guilty. May H.E. Idi Amin Dada rest in peace.
Dr. Eng. A. Ibudi, Germany (Ugandan national)

Death was too good an end for this monster
Coleena, USA
Good riddance! However death was too good an end for this monster. It is unacceptable that he should have died so peacefully. The Saudis should be ashamed of themselves for giving him safe haven. There will come a time when they will be held accountable.
Coleena, USA

Africa is well rid of tyrants and murderers Of the likes of Amin. Ugandans should celebrate his demise .
Murray Podro, United Kingdom

It is shame in spite of the existence of UN, and Hague tribunal and so many powerful countries, they could never be able to bring a man to justice, who is responsible for decimating half a million human beings, knowing where he lived and how he lived, no one bothered to take action. Perhaps the international community has hurt the Ugandans more than Idi Amin has by their inaction.
Samuel, U.K

Idi Amin was a man who in history of Africa shall never be forgotten for his brutal killing of so many innocent Ugandans. However, let's not talk ill of the dead, but wish him well and that his soul should rest in peace.
Dorothy Nyondo, Malawi

The great sadness is that it would have been so easy to arrest him and put him on trial
Adrian, Australia
A very sad day for all of us and, in particular, the people of Uganda. I'm sure the 400,000 victims of his rule and their loved ones would have wanted to see him brought to justice and spend his final years rotting in some Ugandan jail rather than living in Saudi luxury. But of course, African deaths don't really count do they? I'm sure the result would have been different if there had been any significant American of British victims of his rule.

The great sadness is that it would have been so easy to arrest him and put him on trial. Why did the UN who seem so concerned with 'crimes against humanity' let him get away scot-free? It just makes no sense!
Adrian, Australia

I lived in Uganda as a youngster during the Amin era. Interestingly I only recall the friendly nature of the president who could drive himself alone in a jeep to social functions offering lifts to kids!
George Bita, Uganda

My mum was born and raised in Uganda and her everlasting memory of the country was the power cuts caused by the bodies of victims clogging up the hydro-electric dams. The lucky (?!) ones were eaten by the crocodiles first, but once they were full, they ignored the rest who met their death in the machinery. The world's a better place without this odious man.
CJF, UK

Though I personally did not have the misfortune to experience life under this cruel despot I have heard tales from many who did and know enough about this tyrant to suggest that this event though not ideal to many can at least give partial closure to millions who were affected by the bloodshed and displacement during this thug's regime.
Sajeev Chakkalakal, India

Too bad he had to exit his life through a coma; he should have been awake and experienced some of the misery that he brought upon others. Also, his protection by the Saudi Government should bring to light how low we are to still trust their standards.
J McKee, USA

Idi Amin is one of the few people that we can say the world is better without
Keith L, UK
At the time of his worst atrocities, I was a teenager living in Surrey, where many of the Asian Ugandan exiles were housed when they sought asylum in the UK. That these people were happy living in formerly condemned council houses and willing to do ANY job of work was an indication of how bad things were in their own country. Whilst we can sympathise with his family on their loss, Idi Amin is one of the few people that we can say the world is better without.
Keith L, UK

As a Ugandan Asian, being expelled from Uganda was the biggest turning point in my life and for my family. I totally abhorred the things that Amin did to his own people. However, I also believe that he was justified in expelling the Asians as they did run the country and treated the 'native Ugandans' as second class citizens in their own country. I will not be celebrating his death but at the same time my life has been changed for the better by what he did in expelling us.
Dilip, UK

Absolutely brilliant news! Pity he lasted so long. Why did we ever put up with his living in luxury all these years after his removal from power?
SC Johnston, UK

Idi Amin was the African equivalent of Josef Stalin or Pol Pot. All of these dictators were mass murderers and had perverse policies which ruined the economies of their respective countries. What appals me most about Amin is that after being deposed, he literally got away with murder. Libya and Saudi Arabia gave him a safe haven - despite knowing his crimes.

Amin should have been tried for crimes against humanity because he has the blood of nearly 400,000 people on his hands. Bizarrely, Amin still had supporters in Uganda, who right up until his death, were campaigning for him to be allowed to return to Uganda to die. But then, it's said that thousands of people wept as they filed past the coffin of Stalin. There's no accounting for taste.
Anon, UK

I don't wish death for anyone, but it's impossible for me to feel any sadness for this monster.
Sean, GB

Let this be a reminder to other dictators and evil doers that you can still be humiliated even in death
Katu Kasharu Apolo, Germany
It's unfortunate that this terrible modern time dictator only comparable to Hitler and Saddam has died before answering the crimes he meted on innocent Ugandans. There is no reason in being happy about someone's death but Amin's death is a good riddance and sigh of relief. At least on earth he is not liked. My last appeal goes to the government of Uganda not to bow to political pressure and allow the return of his remains. Let this be a reminder to other dictators and evil doers that you can still be humiliated even in death.
Katu Kasharu Apolo, Germany

In fact it's been a good year for evil men getting their comeuppance. Just a shame he didn't suffer nearly enough.
Gary, UK

I was born in Kampala during Idi Amin's rule. My father, a pharmacist from Bangladesh, had travelled to Uganda with his young family to work in Uganda Pharmaceuticals. Many of his friends - doctors, engineers, pharmacists, university lecturers - did the same thing in the mid-70s. Some of them actually stayed back in Uganda even after the Tanzanian invasion, while some went over to Kenya. But my parents, with four young sons, opted to return to the relative security of Bangladesh. One of my earliest memories is that of green Tanzanian tanks rolling past our house in Kampala.

The question I have always asked is this, and I hope someone will be able to clarify this for me: while he was expelling Asians who had historically settled in East Africa, why was Idi Amin also bringing in professionals like my dad and his friends? Does anyone know this?
Zubaer Mahboob, USA

Why did the human rights activists never bring him to justice? These activists seem to have double standards. Shame on the Saudis for protecting him in comfort all his life. I wonder who is protecting Bin Laden right now.
Robert McDougall, UK




SEE ALSO:
Dictator Idi Amin dies
16 Aug 03  |  Africa


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