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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Idi Amin's dirty war: subversion, sabotage, and the battle to keep Uganda clean, 1971-1979
Author:Decker, AliciaISNI
Year:2010
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Volume:43
Issue:3
Pages:489-513
Language:English
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:military regimes
authoritarianism
government policy
About person:Idi Amin Dada (1925-2003)ISNI
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/23046822
Abstract:For Idi Amin, dirt served as a powerful metaphor for subversion and sabotage - activities that threatened his military regime's stability. It represented dangers that could only be eliminated through 'cleaning'. However, Amin's movement to Keep Uganda Clean was largely a foil, a massive political whitewash designed to cover up a host of deadly sins and hoodwink the public into believing that 'dirt' could be eradicated through cleaning. Given the regimes reputation for violence, it is not surprising that government officials were responsible for some of the vilest filth. This essay seeks to better understand the politics of dirt in Amin's Uganda. It first discusses dirt as a social fact - as a visible reflection of the postcolonial State's decay and deterioration. Taking the larger sociopolitical context into account, the essay provides a multilayered explanation as to why Amin was so concerned with cleanliness. After analysing physical manifestations of dirt, the essay considers how it functioned as an ideological construct representing various forms of subversion. Playing off of the militarized rhetoric associated with the 'Economic War', the essay examines State efforts to combat dirt within political, economic and intimate arenas. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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