By Angus Shaw
How do you behave in a poker game with a genocidal murderer? General Mohammed Siad Barre of Somalia had a revolver lying beside his over-flowing ashtray on the baize card table. Dictators bully and cheat, not only at cards.
Field Marshal General Idi Amin Dada of Uganda,¬ fleeing his overthrow, abandoned his mansion on Kololo Hill. Amin’s mansion showed us his madness, his vanity, his love of the cartoon characters Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Popeye and Olive Oil, and his hypochondria – the bathroom contained more medicine than a chemist’s shop.
On their trips to African summitry, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, worldly yet fanatical, were an enigma. Yasser Arafat and King Hassan of Morocco were diminutive men, but charming in meetings face-to-face. Arafat was full of bonhomie as he tapped the pistol on his belt.
Angus Shaw, an award-winning international journalist, was born in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. In this brutally honest memoir, he tells of friendship, joy and pain, of lies, of moral decay, and of sex, drink and drugs, as he journeys through seven blood-steeped African wars, culminating in that pinnacle of madness and depravity, the genocide in Rwanda.
His story is peopled by cruel dictators and warlords, fighters whose dreams of freedom went unconsummated, great statesmen like the icon of peace Nelson Mandela, the jet-setting Pope John Paul II making pilgrimages to Africa, and idols of movies and music who visited his beleaguered Paradise of Fools.
Published by Boundary Books, Harare: email@example.com