Frantz Fanon importance in the field of human rights movement will be remembered in ages to come - Concerning Violence introduction. He is the most important theorist and his works speak the depth of his commitment and endurance in the field of racism, colonization and revolutionary struggle for freedom. In the first chapter of his book, The Wretched of the Earth, he deeply immersed himself into the emotional dimensions in which colonized people often find themselves and the way they carry out their independent struggle for freedom. By giving us account of the rage and frustration they faced and the role that violence played in the shaping the history, Fanon criticized politics that was being played during post independence era; disenfranchisement and the taste that was created for the different set of animosities.
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Fanon says that the colonial world is divided into two parts with police stations and barracks acting as mediocre between the two worlds of colonizers and the colonized. Policeman and soldiers generate direct control on the colonized people by their atrocious and brutal ways and their presence indicate the dictatorship of the colonizers; they act as their spokesperson. They suppress people by the brutal force. It simply implies that violence is at the core of the colonization itself. Police uses the violent ways to suppress more to already suppressed classes. In this dilemma, where one race crosses all the codes of human conduct and bestows all the savage and atrocious brutalities on the other race imparting not just physical injury but also injury to their soul and their whole identity, naturally they are bound to cry and ultimately their cries will turn to anger and disgust.
This frustration in them first would emerge as resentment against other tribes and caste of their own race and ultimately would result in picking up arms against the actual enforcers of violence. In 1956, when the Monsieur Guy Mollet surrendered himself to the settlers in Algeria, the leaflet from the Front de Liberation Nationale, echoed, “Colonialism only loosens its hold when the knife is at its throat.” (Fanon 1965) After reading this, not a single Algerian thought this statement as violent, as this feeling was raging like a fire in the hearts of every Algerian.
It implies that decolonization is only possible by the violent ways, as it is violence only that can cuts the violence. Though the violent ways can lead to complete disorder in the society, yet from this disorder only will emerge the new order and then only there will be total change. People owning the authoritative orders in the society will be changed and so will be the titles and names, ranging from private or entertainment affairs to the government department or the banking. The change of the order of the society or department will bring new rays of hope for the colonized, their ambitions and their dreams, which is much needed by the suppressed class. As it opens up new avenues for the people, who since centuries, were only restricted within the bondage of racism and slavery. It raises consciousness of the people towards their own rights but on the other hand it also results in the dissatisfaction for the people changed. Naturally decolonization comes at the cost of the rights and privileges of the colonizers whose consciousness do not allow them to seek the bright future, as they are afraid of their loss of career and terrified future waiting for them.
Process of decolonization brings about change in the people’s perspective and complete outlook of looking at the ways of the world and inspires them to fight for their rights. “Decolonization is the veritable creation of new men. But this creation owes nothing of its legitimacy to any supernatural power; the ‘thing’, which has been colonised becomes man during the same process by which it frees itself.” (Fanon 1965)
When it is argued on the point that violence can solve no purpose as it can only create devastation and degrade human life and it only makes man egoistic and separate him from others, Fanon answers that violence frees “…the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it…restores his self-respect.” (Fanon 1965) Violence increases self-respect among humiliated blacks that are already having own inferiority complex and self-hatred. At the outset, Fanon was not in favor of violence but his theory was founded by the studies he conducted at the grass root level. He himself saw blacks getting themselves subjected to mistreatment and brutality: the butts of the guns and the point of the rifles crushed their voice. At this stage, humiliated people show their frustration by showing regression against their own people. He says every human being has a right to equal treatment, and in this world of globalization where almost all the colonies were getting themselves free from the yoke of the British rule. He understands the voice of the third world opening to catch the colonizers in their own dominating passions, when they say, “The European elite undertook to manufacture a native elite. They picked out promising adolescents; they branded them, as with a red-hot iron, with the principles of Western culture; they stuffed their mouths full with high-sounding phrases, grand glutinous words that stuck to the teeth. After a short stay in the mother country they were sent home, whitewashed. These walking lies had nothing left to say to their brothers; they only echoed. From Paris, from London, from Amsterdam we would utter the words “Parthenon! Brotherhood!” and some where in Africa or Asia lips would open “…thenon! …therhood!” It was the golden age.” (Preface)
It is not the war against just brutality and humiliation but also war for economic liberation and the violence is as truer for Algeria as for other European nations. When we see historically, there is not a one European state who have not achieved its national unity and gain uniform economic independence without causing affinity with other nations and as result underdeveloped nations are still floundering on the dearth of poverty and the colonial nations proclaiming, “If you wish for independence, take it and go back to the middle ages.” (Fanon 1965) And the nationalist leaders have to turn back at the face of the people and urge them to take on gigantic efforts, but this is also true that many of the third world countries wanted peace and gaining the privilege for their strategic position in the global map acceded to be economically dependent country. Though the colonized nations are free yet they were economically dependent on the colonized nations.
We can see the traits of his arguments taking partial shape in rest of Africa and the world. In the major parts that were the colonized world, national leaders, who were inactive, entered into the arena taking their nations onto the path of liberalization through what is known as non-violence. They argued that both the bourgeoisie as well as colonized nations have same interests and therefore it is good for whole nation to come to peaceful terms with each other. Those nations, who had advocated violence means, finally entered into compromise towards peaceful negotiations and solution towards their path of liberation.
It all depends on the Nation’s social, economical and political situation and the depth of the economic, political and social subjugation of the colonized that have been making the leaders of the nations to chart out the ways towards their liberation. Latin America and Castro operations in Africa are the live examples portraying violence.
Frantz Fanon’s “Concerning Violence” is a practical thought highlighting their current situation economically, politically as well as socially.
Fanon F. 1965. The Wretched of the Earth Concerning Violence NY: Grove Press 1965