Wretched of the Earth

I found the Fanon reading to be particularly interesting because rather than being another analysis of Marxist theories, it actually proposed a practical change to how things are being done. Frantz Fanon, as a psychiatrist, explores the psychological effects of colonization on the Algerians as well as the larger implications of colonization. He uses these observations and conclusions as an argument for the decolonization of Algeria.

In addition to Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, I also thought that Jean-Paul Sartre’s preface to Fanon’s work was especially evocative. Sartre’s controversial introduction takes a very specific approach to Fanon’s argument and presents it as an advocacy for violent behavior. While Fanon acknowledges the use of violence as a means in the process of decolonization, he does not, however, point to it as the sole method of achieving the goal. Sartre’s words misleadingly imply that the use of violence is what will ultimately lead to Algerian liberation. In his foreword, Homi K. Bhabha asserts that Sartre’s introduction provides a limited analysis of Fanon’s extremely influential piece and may turn some readers off of the body of the work. Sartre makes it seem as though Fanon’s main argument is that of violence.

Despite the controversial introduction, the influence of Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth is far reaching and has become a sort of handbook for those dealing with or analyzing the process of decolonization. When I looked up Fanon on Wikipedia, I found it very interesting that the Pentagon continues to refer to Fanon’s work as advice on handling the conflict in Iraq.

One response to “Wretched of the Earth

  1. I agree with you. I think that Fanon’s moves from a plain theoretical analysis of colonization and decolonziers to an invitation to create change in the humanistic realm. I was a bit bothered by the “violence” factor, but I can also understand how this may be necessary for decolonization to take place. I’m very surprised to learn that they discuss him in the Pentagon in regards to Iraq. I wonder in which context.