Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Post has an interesting article about the current popularity of a now deceased brutal dictator in the Congo. Mobutu Seko is probably most familiar to Americans as the villain of Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible (I say this because the book is in Oprah's book club). He seems to be having a resurgence:
On the eve of the first multiparty balloting here since 1960, nostalgia was running high for a man who, though corrupt and brutal, kept united a country that has experienced little but mayhem since he was driven from power in 1997.
This bit I did not know:
Mobutu, a former army officer who took power in a 1965 coup, was one of Africa's archetypal Big Men, putting his image on currency, on pictures in public buildings and on billboards across the country. The evening news began with images of him descending, god-like, through the clouds. And he changed his name to an eight-word phrase meaning "the all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake."


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