Frantz Fanon (1961). Concerning Violence.
In The Wretched of the Earth.

Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) was born in Martinique in 1925 and studied medicine in France, specializing in psychiatry: Sent to a hospital in Algeria, he found his symphathies turning toward the Algerian Nationalist Movement, which he later joined. He is considered this century's most important theorist of the African struggle for independence.

The zone where the natives live is not complementary to the zone inhabited by the settlers. The two zones are opposed, but not in the service of a higher unity. Obedient to the rule of Aristotelian logic, they both follow the principle of reciprocal exclusivity. No conciliation is possible, for of the two terms, one is superfluous. The settlers' town is a strongly built town, all made of stone and steel. It is a brightly lit town; the streets are covered with asphalt, and the garbage cans swallow all the leavings, unseen, unknown and hardly thought about. The settler's feet are never visible, except perhaps in the sea; but there you're never close enough to see them. His feet are protected by strong shoes although the streets of his town are clean and even, with no holes and stones. The settler's town is a well-fed town, an easygoing town; its belly is always full of good things. The settlers' town is a town of white people, of foreigners.

The town belonging to the colonized people, or at least the native town, the Negro village, the medina, the reservation, is a place of ill fame, peopled by men of evil repute. They are born there, it matters little where or how; they die there, it matters not where, nor how. It is a world without spaciousness; men live there on top of the other. The native town is a hungry town, starved of bread, of meat, of shoes, of coal, of light. The native town is a crouching village, a town on its knees, a town wallowing in the mire...

Frantz Fanon. The Wretched of the Earth.
New York, 1961, p. 38-39.

The settler-native relationship is a mass relationship. The settler pits brute force against the wight of numbers. He ist an exhibitionist. His preoccupation with security makes him remind the native out loud that there he alone is master. The settlers keeps alive in the native an anger which he deprives of outlet; the native is trapped in the tight links of the chains of colonialism. But we have seen that inwardly the settler can only achieve a pseudo petrification. The native's musuclar tension finds outlet regulary in bloodthirsty explosions - in tribal warfare, in feuds between septs, and in quarrels between individuals. Where individuals are concerned, a positive negation of common sense is evident. While the settler or the policeman has the right the livelong day to strike the native, to insult him und to make him crawl to them, you will see the native reaching for his knife at the slightest hostile or aggressive glance cast on him by another native; for the last resort of the native is to defend his personality vis-a-vis his brother. Tribal feuds only serve to perpetuate old grudges buried deep in the memory. By throwing himself with all his force into the vendetta, the native tries to persuade himself that colonialism does not exist, that evrything is going on as before, that histrory countinues. Here on the level communal organizations we clearly discern the well-known behavior patterns of avoidance. It is as if plunging into a fraternal bloodbath allowed them to ignore the obstacle, and to put off till later the choice, nevertheless inevitable , which opens up the question of armed resistance to colonialism.

Frantz Fanon. The Wretched of the Earth.
New York, 1961, p. 53-54.

Frantz Fanon. Concerning Violence. In The Wretched of the Earth. New York, 1961, p. 38-39/53-54. Retrieved from the World Wide Web:

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