Saturday, 24 March 2012
The Crocodile's Teeth - Trading, Tyranny & Terrorism on Two Continents
“Tonight you will see how we kill our enemies” said Captain Akiki. “It is a rare opportunity to see people being killed at close range. It will be the experience of a lifetime for you…”
He thrust the barrel into my chest. “Don’t shoot him” the other soldier said. “You will wake Amin’s soldiers. I had better cut his throat.” He held the machete against my throat…
Sam Thaker was born to Indian immigrant parents in Uganda in the days when it was one of the most beautiful, fertile and contented countries in the world. Then Idi Amin swept to power, and under his tyranny Sam’s paradise became a hell on Earth. Having been forced by Amin’s thugs to give up their home and most of their money and possessions, as well as Sam’s thriving air freight business, he and his family began a new life in England as near-penniless refugees.
But Sam was a survivor. Ignoring his bank manager’s patronising advice to open a corner shop, he decided instead to build on his experience in the cargo business to start up a London-based air freight company. Realising the immense potential of the Indian import market, he returned to the land of his fathers to develop business there which eventually led to the company opening offices in eight Indian cities. Along the way he and his wife were caught up in the wave of terrorism which struck Mumbai in 1993 and again in 2008, and narrowly escaped the floods which engulfed the city in 2005 and drowned more than 5000 people. The Crocodile’s Teeth is a fascinating portrait of survival and resourcefulness against a background of tyranny and terror on two continents.