Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Theme of the Week

Is Mobutu Sese Seko.

I don't know precisely how this happened, but three times in the past ten days or so, the former president of Zaire and all-around baddie has entered my thoughts.

In keeping with some previous exploration of "Sports in History," I borrowed When We Were Kings from the library. It's a documentary about the historical fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Now, I hate boxing. But I'm moderately fascinated by Ali and, to a lesser extent, Foreman. And since it takes place in Kinshasa, Zaire, Mobutu plays a role as well. Sort of as "dark, foreshadowing figure of evil" in the background.

Since Spouse and DQ were going out of town for a week, I also picked up a novel at the library to occupy my evenings. I chose The Poisonwood Bible because I'd been meaning to read it for some time and because Slacktivist mentioned it. I knew it was about missionaries in Africa. I didn't realize it was in the Congo, circa 1960. Mobutu, therefore, shows up again.

I'm beginning to think about teaching World History, which is a highly likely scenario for the fall term. So yesterday, I got out my World Civ. textbook and started flipping through the more recent materials, grounding myself a bit. I turned to a chapter on decolonization in Asia and Africa. Guess what? Mobutu.

These things happen in threes. At least, I really hope he doesn't pop up someplace else!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to be confused with this guy, although both dabble in political assassination.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Neel Mehta said...

Some historians argue that Mobutu, and not Mugatu, invented the piano key necktie.

9:44 AM  

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