Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 13, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, June 13, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 General Idi star or monster? By Anne Head, London Observer commentator PARIS "The funniest show in town" was the caustic comment of film director Eric Rohmer alter seeing. General Idi Amin Dada. a 90- minute French documentary film by Barbel Schroeder. now being shown to the public for the first time in Paris. The audience's reaction to "General Amin" is halfway between laughter at a Marx Brothers comedy and gasps at the feats of a "King Kong." At the Cannes Film Festival, where the film was given a fringe showing, opinions about it varied from "an updated version of Dracula" to "an enthralling political portrait." No one is indifferent "I've become almost pro- Amin." says 33-year-old Schroeder. "because even if a lot of what he says appears crazy, it's not. He has no education, but a sort of peasant cunning and must be seen in an African context. President Mobutu of Zaire has a nightly, megalomaniac television chat to the nation, while President Bokassa. of the Central African Republic, demonstrates to journalists how prisoners should be killed or mutilated." "The film on Amin was planned as part of a television series on heads of state." says Mr. Schroeder "Amin interested me because he seems to be a caricature of LONDON Since General Idi Amin seized power in Uganda on 25 January. 1971, between 25.000 and 250.000 people, almost all Africans. have been killed in Uganda according to a report released by the International Commission of Jurists other heads of state who all seem rather insipid beside him "At first Amin was hesitant, but when he realized that he would be able to do what he wanted he agreed to collaborate. In fact, he co- improvised "He did refuse to let us film his wives." recalls Schroeder, "but I realized afterwards that it was because at that time he was repudiating three ol them for not being revolutionary enough." In the film Amin proudly shows off his children: "I've 12 boys and six he says as he rather vaguely fondles a sample group of his progeny. General Idi Amin "I'm a very good marksman, but I like the children very much." Many scenes were improvised lor the film "One evening." says Schroeder, "Amin told me "Tomorrow we're taking the Golan so in fact next day we assisted at impromptu military manoeuvres." In combat uniform the ebullient General is seen organizing the mock battle which ends in a clear Ugandan victory over Israel The General shrugs off any questions about his remarks on Hitler and the extermination of the Jews (he once said: "Hitler was right about the by declaring "The Hitler problem is past times He claims that General Dayan was "his good friend" and that "Golda Meir gave me very good entertainment in Israel." The expulsion of the Ugandan Asians. Amin explains, was in response to orders received from God in a dream, and he seems fanatically convinced that his more questionable acts are conveniently in answer to God's will Parts of the film show Amin as a calm, and apparently clear-thinking man. as on a visit to a Nile game reserve where elephants and crocodiles live their protected lives unlike many Ugandan citizens When Amin explains to Schroeder that Ugandan people should be educated through traditional dance and song, or when he exhorts women to take a more active part in Ugandan life, the laughter is then clearly with Amin. But when he addesses a ministerial meeting and starts attacking the then Foreign Minister Michael Odongan. the laughter suddenly freezes and the applause dies as the French commentator reminds us that two weeks after this tongue- lashing Odongan's body was found floating in the Nile "Amin is a continual contradiction." says Schroeder. "In the film he talks about his poor childhood in the country where he was born, but one day driving through Kampala lie showed us a house where he claims to have been born and said that his father was a policeman." the Cabinet meeting he insists that ministers run their ministries efficiently and while in office withdraw from private business. "Absent three times from a council meeting without reason, and you're no longer a Minister." shouts Amin. He also urges his Ministers to make full use of "town agents." his private political police force which is known to be one instrument in his reign of terror Schroeder does not condone these disappearances and massacres in the film Perhaps the most revealing part of the film comes when General Amin addresses a meeting ol representatives of the Ugandan medical profession This is not one of his improvisations. Some brave young doctors venture to ask questions and make complaints. Amin listens the sweat pouring off his brow, his hands twitching nervously, and his brain can almost be heard trying to find a way out. Suddenly he turns the tables on them. Using military language and metaphors he instructs his audience, which is intellectually far above him. on how they should behave. He even tells them off for drinking too much: he promises to take into account their various requests and. temporarily, at least, silences them This film portrait is more than a joke, it goes some way towards explaining how an ill- educated monster like Arnin has been able to achieve absolute power in Uganda. Schroeder's laconic comment at the end is- "After a century of colonialism, isn't it a deformed image of ourselves that Idi Amin Dada reflects. By David Martin, London Observer commentator The 63-page report has been sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations. Mr. Kurt Waldheim, with a re- quest that it should be submitted to the Commission on Human Rights. For General Amin. the report could not have come at B ERRY'S WORLD r 197J by NEA "I'm glad we took that horrible trip LAST year. We'd have to pay up to 20 per cent more for it this a worse time He is in the throes of trying to improve his image where variously he has been cast as a buffoon and a ruthless murderer. Some months ago he approached Markpress (who handled Biafra's publicity) to undertake public relations work on his behalf. In addition, a 90-minute documentary is to be shown in France and on Ugandan television every week in which the General dances, plays the accordion and wins a swimming race. But even this ploy fails to improve the image, and an advertisement in the International Herald Tribune for the film a few- days ago had as a caption one of his typical remarks: "You can never run as fast as a bullet." The Jurists" report shows just how many people in the past three and one-half years did not run faster than the bullet or avoid the hammers, knives, machetes and other implements of death that have become part of Uganda's nightmare. The report is broken up into three sections: the first dealing with the much publicized Asian expulsion in 1972. the second with the political and legal structure under General Amin, and the third is a chronological account of the "reign of terror." This latter section takes up over half the total report, and is a horrifying record of the slaughter in Uganda. Anyone and there are still many who believes that General Amin is a funny figure should read this. "It is not possible to give any reliable estimate of the number of people who have been arbitrarily executed since January 1971" the report states "Estimates received range from 25.000 to 250.000. All that can be said is that they are to be numbered certainly in thousands and very possibly in tens of thousands With the exception of a handful, all were Africans. The Asians are perhaps fortunate to have been expelled." The report deals only with the well known who are listed "missing, presumed dead" and acknowledges that it does not deal with the countless anonymous victims who were ordinary citizens who There's one great reason why Acadian 400 is becoming so popular. Flavour! SUPERIOR C A KYI WHIS 3 QBE can be harmful By Greg Hales, local writer disappeared without attracting public attention. While there is no denying that the report, by drawing attention to the very unfunny side of Idi Amin. is invaluable it none the less shows signs of having been rushed out. and has some remarkable omissions. A number of documents that were available are ignored, including one by a former minister in General Amin's government who in early 1973 put the death toll at 80.000 to 90.000. and stressed that his figure could be conservative. Immediately he came to power, when many in the West were still welcoming the overthrow of Dr Milton Obote as Ugenda's president, the murders and massacres in Uganda began. The Ugandan Government consistently blamed the disappearances on Dr. Obote and his supporters, on the Chinese, on Southern African freedom fighters, on an array of neighboring countries and finally, after the break with Israel, on Zionists. In many cases the killers from the" Public Safety Unit. Military Intelligence, the Military Police and Presidential bodyguard, known as the State Research Department could be identified by eye-witnesses, but no one has yet been prosecuted and convicted Over 2.000 Ugandans have fled into exile in neighbouring Kenya the report states, and the number in Tanzania and Zambia is similar, with many- more scattered across the world. There is little anyone can do to stop the killing, which is still going on The likely outcome is an assassin's bullet, but every time an attempt to unseat him fails and there have been a number that is the signal for a new' purge Perhaps the person responsible for the headline on a review of the film to be shown in Paris in the International Herald Tribune "Funniest show in Paris General Idi Amin Dada" should have read this report before committing thai view to print Books in brief "Shattered" by K. R. Dwyer Random, 182 Statements have been made that there is absolutely no way the quality of education in Lethbridge can decline as a result of objective based education and that no harm can come from its use. These are the statements offered as reason for employing OBE. The crucial question is this: "Will OBE do any 'That is the important concern. If that question is answered in the positive, then we should look to answering the question of "will it do any Why has no evidence been offered as to the value of OBE? The Principle has been invoked that to find out about something one must experience it first-hand. While that may be the case for matters of personal taste (such as the flavor of ice cream) it is emphatically not the case for matters of public concern. To "try it out" is not the only way to determine the usefulness (or uselessness) of OBE. Objective based education has been experimented with all over this continent since 1956. Surely by this time there is a sufficiently large body of evidence one way or the other to allow us to make some kind of evaluation on Lethbndge's special brand of objective based education. For some reason this evidence has remained conspicuously absent, in spite of repeated requests for it. I can't buy the "try-it-to-find-out" principle for another reason. The OBE timeline calls for an implementation period of from three to five years. This translates as an investment of one quarter to one third of a child's school life on a venture no one seems to want to back up with solid evidence. I'm just not willing to force my pupils to pay that kind of price until and unless I'm convinced they will benefit from it. We are to believe that the only possible objection that teachers might make is that it (OBE) requires considerable work. Well, I am a teacher, and that is not the only possible objection I might make. It is one I do make, but for reason of what the extra work prevents me as an educator from doing, not for what it will require me to do. Let me illustrate Education is not merely the four Rs. The trustees of Lethbridge School District No. 51 recognized that when they established their 10 "goals of education." Let me now indicate just how OBE could "harm" the pupils. Goal No. 8 reads: "Learn now to use leisure time" and is amplified by the statements "develop a positive attitude toward participation in a range of leisure time activities physical, intellectual and and "acquire skills enabling them to participate in a variety of lifelong physical activities Currently in Lethbridge schools there exists a diverse and extensive extra curncular program, run voluntarily by teachers in non school hours. The range extends from stamp collecting and chess to volleyball, soccer, baseball, and floor hockey to plays and operettas to art shows band. concerts and musical collages. All these extra curricular activities are vital components of a child's education They serve to foster and develop "the ability to use leisure time productively." They also serve to help meet goals nine and 10. namely. "Practice and understand the ideas of health and fitness" and "Appreciate and experience the fine arts." Extra-curricular programs are carried on before school in the morning, at noon, and after school in the afternoon. If that time were to be consumed with the planning and writing of objectives, the making of pre-tests and post tests and the marking of those tests, and the attendant flood of record keeping, that time simply wouldn't be available for the vital extra curricular program. What would the kids do. and what would happen to goals No. 8. No. 9 and No. 10 It is not simply a question of "extra work It is a question of the heart and soul of education being threatened. Education should strive to develop the whole person, not merely one who is skillful at performing limited tasks. Another component of OBE is that of "minimum standards." It has been rhetorically asked, "who can possibly object to a system in which a pupil at the end of a particular grade is expected to have mastered certain basic minimal understandings and I can. and I do. We achieve what we strive for If we strive for minimums, we will achieve minimums An educational system that is based on minimums is an affront to man My concern is that the price would be devastating. What attitudes would develop in children were they exposed every school to the need to achieve the minimum? What would happen to excellence9 To ing for the best possible9 Few. if any. teachers reject the concept of OBE out of hand. What they do reject is the implementation of OBE before they have had a chance to thoroughly study it and its implications. In this way they are acting exactly as we would want responsible professionals charged with the education of our children to act. Teachers want the opportunity to study OBE and provide feedback on it. ANDY RUSSELL Bears on our doorstep WATERTON LAKES When conditions are right the service berry brush around our ranch carry a tremendous load of fruit big juicy berries as big as small grapes, that are delicious. We eat them with relish and so does about everything else. The cows slurp them till their milk tastes like something else. The saddlehorses are very fond of them. The coyotes and foxes fill up on them and the bears have a huge celebration by eating till they bulge, falling asleep in the midst of abundance to wake and feed again. Bears are the world's most adept berry- pickers. They clean off the low bushes with teeth and lips while standing on all four feet. They rear up on their hind feet to get at the fruit on the high bushes by pulling them towards their mouths with feet and forearms. When they get tired of balancing themselves on their hind feet, they just hug a whole bundle of bushes to them and sag over on their backs thus hauling the bushes down to where they can pick berries in a lazy- reclining position. It matters not how they do it. the berries disappear down their hungry- throats at an astonishing rate. Last fall the brush around our hilltop home was bending down with the weight of fruit and black bears and grizzlies alike enjoyed a bonanza of good picking. Hardly a day went by that we did not see fresh signs of one or more of the big animals. They came right into our yard after dark giving our dog such fits of consternation that we had to bring her into the house in order to get some sleep Bears are fastidious animals in some ways and generally go to a specific spot to defecate. One of them picked the back yard and another our lawn to deposite great mounds of digested berries almost nightly. We began to feel a bit put upon as we went around with a shovel and a box cleaning up after them. But we are fond of bears so long as they, mind their own business and these were welJ-behaved. One big black bear was a real character. I came up to him one night just at dark on a bushy trail not far from the house and thought at first that my presence was unknown to him. He was sta'ndmg at a full six feet facing me at about eight yards busily picking berries off a high bush. After about a minute went by. he paused to look squarely into my face, whuffed a bit as though commenting on a fine evening, then without getting down deliberately turned his back to me as he worked on another bush It was a real gesture of trust Taking his time about it. he cleaned off the berries within reach, got down on all four feet, then walked out on the trail in front of me. Stopping he looked up full in my face for a moment, then ambled away about his business in silence. As the berries disappeared, this bear worked closer and closer to the house. One evening the dog blew up where she was lying in front of the fireplace and dashed toward the back door with her hair all on end and growling fiercely. When I looked through its glass pane, there was our big black visitor sitting on the bottom step looking out over the moon flooded mountains as though lost in admiration of the view. A business trip to New York called me away, but before I left I took the precaution of checking over my wife's rifle and leaving some ammunition handy If by some quirk of character the bear decick to break in. she would be able to handle the situation. Two days later I phoned back from a Manhattan hotel to ask how things were going. The bear, she informed me. was at that moment sitting on the front doorstep, still behaving and obviously stall enjoying the view. By the time I got back, he had taken himself off into the mountains sn search of a winter den. And there he now reposes no doubt dreaming bearish dreams of warm summer days and ripe berries Doyle and his new wife's 11 -year-old brother are across Ihe U S to San sco Their five day pleasurc 1rip becomes a niehlmarc journey when they arr pursued by a mysterious madman who wants 1o kill them Dwyer lets his Traders snare the tensions of 1br chase he describes the increasing fear ol the hunted and 1he thoughts of the hunter Shattered, is mainly about the havoc caused by one man's warped mind but i1 also shows how ordinary people may read 10 Ihe unusual and bizarre A first class suspense story TERRY MORRIS ON THE USE OF WORDS Word oddities. A dilemma is not just a predicament or a problem, it is a special kind of predicament: one in which a person faces a choice of two equally unsatisfactory courses. The two idea is built into the word. It comes from the Greek di- (two) and lemma (assumption or something taken for granted The two idea is also evident in the commonplace phrases the horns of a dilemma whichever horn you get impaled on vou arc in trouble That-which again. Some time ago this nag laid down the rule about when to use that and when to use which. In brief, the idea is to use that in introducing a defining clause one 1ha1 cannot be omitled without changing Ihr sense and which in introducing a parenthetical clause one that simply add? information and can be dropped Here is a sentence illustrating both uses "Some pill> that he has been taking induce sleep which interferes with his work Now come? Dr Samuel M Sherman of Moorestown. .1 with a rough rule of his own His rule, which he devised for his children, is one that 1o work, he says The rale is. Don 1 which if that will do Not bad. though ;i presupposes an ear thai is iairly well a11un< d to good usrge.