10 Craziest Things That Dictators Have Said And Done
Dictators are generally known to be ruthless and cruel men. Stories about them tend to focus on them imprisoning or killing opponents, carrying out unspeakable acts of violence and generally being horrifically evil. However, their unwavering power and supreme authority can also give rise to other more neurotic tendencies. Many of the most famous dictators have done or claimed to have done bizarre things, both to build up their mystique and as a way of boosting their own ego.
Almost everything that Saparmurat Niyazov did during his dictatorship of Turkmenistan was widely seen as completely baffling. He closed down almost all of the hospitals, libraries and internet cafes in the country and then went on a spree of renaming everything from the days of the week to food. He even went so far as to rename bread after his mother.
After seizing power of Congo in a military coup, Joseph-Desire Mobutu began to exhibit an array of baffling behavior. He felt he had divine powers and kept up a unique appearance and unique status by stopping news reports and broadcasts from mentioning anyone by name and banning people from wearing certain types of clothing. Most bizarre was his securing of the Rumble in the Jungle fight between Ali and Foreman in the country.
Otherwise known as Papa Doc, Francois Duvalier was the President of Haiti for fourteen years. He had a particular affinity for mysticism and Voodoo, as well as a belief that the number 22 was incredibly lucky. He also ordered that all black dogs be killed within Haiti after he believed a political opponent had transformed into one.
Francisco Macias Nguema
Although Francisco Macias Nguema had relatively humble origins, he rose to become the leader of Equatorial Guinea. Shortly after coming to power, he began to ban traditional school learning, closed hospitals and promoted the powers of witch doctors. He even exiled many intellectuals from the country for running private schools.
One of the strangest things that Joseph Stalin ever did was to order his guards never to enter his private room for any reason. He tested this instruction later by crying out in pain and seeing if the soldiers on duty would enter his chambers. When they did he had them arrested and executed. Stalin’s bizarre behavior eventually cost him dearly in the end though, as his guards were too afraid to come to his aid for more than a day when he had a stroke, meaning essential medical care couldn’t reach him and led to his death.
Up until the civil war that broke out in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi had a personal entourage of bodyguards with him at all times. While that is not unusual for any dictator, as they will often face danger from being assassinated or attacked, it was the demand that all of the bodyguards had to be attractive and young females who were allegedly virgins. They were even permitted to wear makeup and high heels while on duty.
Apart from the extravagant ceremonies and dresses that he used to wear after he came to power, Jean-Bédel Bokassa possessed a number of strange characteristics that made him just as weird as he was vicious. Arguably the oddest demand he placed on the population of the Central African Republic was requiring school children to wear a uniform that had a giant picture of his face on it, arresting all those who refused.
Rafael Trujillo led the Dominican Republic as a dictator from 1930. He then spent the next few years lavishing his children with gifts and titles, making his 3-year-old son a colonel in the military and his daughter the queen. Most strange of all was a year-long celebration he ordered to mark the occasion of his daughter’s coronation, which spent nearly one third of the country’s national wealth.
As well as the various horrors that Idi Amin carried out on those in his country, he also had some unusual behavior that saw him marry multiple wives and even propose to Queen Elizabeth and ask to be made King of Scotland. His most bizarre act was to style himself as “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 Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.”
Kim Jong Il
Throughout his rule of North Korea, Kim Jong Il was known to boast about a number of different things, such as claiming he had made three holes-in-one on his first ever game of golf and that he never needed to use the toilet. One thing he definitely did do though, was kidnap South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and force him to film a movie for him as he was a huge fan. The director later escaped after making one movie.