Idi Amin - Erratic Behaviour, Self-bestowed Titles, and Media Portrayal

Erratic Behaviour, Self-bestowed Titles, and Media Portrayal

As the years progressed, Amin's behaviour became more erratic, unpredictable, and outspoken. After the United Kingdom broke off all diplomatic relations with his regime in 1977, Amin declared he had defeated the British and conferred on himself the decoration of CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire). His full self-bestowed title ultimately became: "His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular", in addition to his officially stated claim of being the uncrowned King of Scotland. He was not a recipient of a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) or a Military Cross (MC). He conferred a doctorate of law on himself from Makerere University, and the Victorious Cross (VC) was a medal made to emulate the British Victoria Cross.

Amin became the subject of rumours and myths, including a widespread belief that he was a cannibal. Some of the unsubstantiated rumours, such as the mutilation of one of his wives, were spread and popularised by the 1980 film Rise and Fall of Idi Amin and alluded to in the film The Last King of Scotland in 2006.

During Amin's time in power, popular media outside of Uganda often portrayed him as an essentially comic and eccentric figure. In a 1977 assessment typical of the time, a Time magazine article described him as a "killer and clown, big-hearted buffoon and strutting martinet". The foreign media was often criticised by Ugandan exiles and defectors for focusing on Amin's excessive tastes and self-aggrandizing eccentricities, and downplaying or excusing his murderous behavior. Other commentators even suggested that Amin had deliberately cultivated his eccentric reputation in the foreign media as an easily parodied buffoon in order to defuse international concern over his administration of Uganda.

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