There must be animals, too; preferably live ones within a private zoo, and if that proves difficult, glorified images of them: fearsome beasts such as eagles, bears and lions.Jean-Bédel Bokassa, former self-appointed emperor of the Central African Republic, took this to its apotheosis with a towering, gold-plated, two-ton throne in the shape of a spread eagle (it went very fetchingly with his red velvet and ermine train). Saddam Hussein’s wall paintings became globally famous.Reproduction is preferable, being shinier than the antique stuff.
Discovered in the compound were family photo albums (one, curiously, devoted to Condoleezza Rice).
There was the melancholic sight of his daughter Hanna’s bedroom, preserved under glass since her death in 1986. For whenever these palaces are finally sprung open, as they were yesterday, citizens are overwhelmed by the riches they find inside, riches usually harvested from people who are struggling to feed their children.
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Yesterday, as a 10-year-old boy struggled with his loot – including a suitcase, replica gun and satellite television receiver – a soldier reportedly shouted at him to stop.