On Fanon

Frantz Fanon has always captured my attention: his passion, his naked vehemence and most of all the burning veracity of his arguments renders him one of the most influential and relevant of anti-colonialist thinkers.

And the fact that the above is composed in the present tense is quite deliberate – to read the below, written in 1961, very little has changed:

Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost the whole of humanity in the name of so-called spiritual experience.

Written from the midst of the Algerian War, Fanon provided a voice for those oppressed by colonialism.

Most striking is his identification of the autochthonous cronies: we so often forget that for every occupying force there are those on the ground who provide if not the foundations, then the sustenance.

As an anthropologist at heart I hold little love for political theory – it instill a sense of tedium that aches to the back of my eyeballs.

Fanon is the first – and perhaps only and last – thinker who resonates.

He did not shroud his anti-colonialist rage: it is bare, blistering and profound.

Fanon died at the age of 36 of leukemia.

Of the great feats he achieved in those too few years, one can only imagine how much more he could have inspired.

*Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, 1961.

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This entry was posted on May 14, 2010 by in Africa, Asia, Bookwormery, Conflict Zones, Politics and tagged , , , , , .
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