The story of Tram 83 is a story all too familiar to anyone who pays attention to modern history. Tram 83’s City State is a small African nation rich in mineral wealth and poor in human rights, ruled by a tin-pot dictator lacking in both decency and self esteem. The Dissident General is a parody of brutal dictators from across the 20th century, a discount Mobutu Sese Seko unable to get his rocks off unless he finds some new way to torture his constituents for the evening.
The Dissident General of Tram 83 is almost certainly based upon the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s own dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobutu was well known for his corruption and human rights violations throughout his rule, and he almost certainly would have been a significant figure of in the life of Congolese born author Fiston Mwanza Mujila.
Although Mobutu was not deposed after a writer revealed the minuscule size of his member, there are many other unfortunate distinctions that both the Dissident General and Mobutu share. One of the main sources of Mobutu’s power was the natural resources of his country. The DRC was well known for its rich copper mines which allowed Mobutu a relatively quick and easy way to increase his country’s wealth. Similarly, the main feature of the General’s city state is its rich mines overflowing with valuable metals of all kinds. The two dictators share a hobby of torturing and killing reporters and authors, and finally both the fictional and the real life countries are afflicted with internal rebellion and crime.
The story of Tram 83 is an unfortunate parody of the horrors that afflict countries in all corners of the globe. When a colonized territory is tossed aside by its imperial oppressors there will be men like the Dissident General and Mobutu ready to take control of a country regrettably unable to defend itself from dictatorship. The day when dictatorships like these no longer exist may never arrive, but it is a day that all people should strive towards.