My junior year of college, I lived with my older sister Sarah, and two other members of the BYU Swim Team. The week that they were out of town for their WAC Championship Meet, I happened to be involved in writing a 30 page paper for my Ethics in International Affairs class, on the war between Tanzania and Uganda, that led to the downfall of the dictator, Idi Amin. My focus in the paper was based on answering the question whether or not it had been a just war from the Tanzanian perspective, using Walzer’ Just War Theory. This paper was an obsession of mine. I checked out every known book in the Intermountain West, regarding Idi Amin. I stayed up late reading these books, falling asleep in the middle of passages regarding speculation of severed heads in Amin’s refrigerator. As a direct result of this reading, I would experience terrible nightmares with Idi and his henchmen chasing me or torturing me. I would wake up on the couch in my empty living room, terrified that Idi Amin was lurking somewhere close, ready to attack me for disparaging his regime in my paper. In actually, he was far away, living a comfortable life in exile in Saudi Arabia. With time, the completion of the assignment, and the return of my roommates, the fears subsided.
Recently, I read in a film magazine that the director of the new film, “The Last King of Scotland,” also would have nightmares about Idi Amin while working on the film. Amin is the stuff of nightmares, but my interest in seeing the new film outweighed my concern that my nightmares would resume. Saturday, I walked to the theater by my house and watched the movie. Forrest Whittaker was incredibly convincing as Idi Amin, because when I returned to my dark, empty apartment, and fell asleep on my couch, I was revisited with nightmares of Idi Amin. Unfortunately this time, I do not have any roommates coming home, so I still have been having these dreams. Idi is now dead – he died in 2003, but I have a feeling his memory still causes thousands of nightmares around the world.