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Violence affects an individual not only in a physical way, but also on an emotional level as well. In Fanon’s “The Wretched of the World” On Violence, the essay presents the reasons and consequences of the presences of violence. Fanon states that decolonization thrives of the essence of violence.
The colonist would not reach their goal for the colonized if it was not for the act of violence. He goes through the factors that remove individuality from the individual, such as the church and the process of decolonization. This inhibits the native’s basic morals and throws him/her into a state of confusion.
Fanon exhibits the relationship between the colonist and the colonized.
He supplies one with all the deep emotions of both the colonist and the colonized. The tension between the two opposing “protagonist” is fabricated through his writing. (Fanon, 3) Finally, he reveals the motives behind the violence of both the colonist and the colonized. This violence comes from two polar ideas that cannot survive with the other still remaining. In Fanon’s writing, one really gets to know about the perspectives of an exploited “species” (Fanon, 1). Fanon describes these factors in such detail that it justifies the use of violence amongst the colonized.
In Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth” On Violence, the essay describes how the colonist tries to force their realities on the native, and while doing that strips the native of his/her identity.
This act of decolonization removes the emotional ties that the natives have to their previous culture and their nation. This colonial force causes tension between the colonist and the colonized. Fanon indentifies the church as an important factor of decolonization. Fanon compares the church to the pesticide DDT; he states that the church eliminates any opposing belief that the natives might have.
This destroys the fundamental morals that make up an individual’s identity. After Fanon’s comparison of the church and DDT, he states that the church “… does not call the colonized to the ways of God, but to the ways of the white man, to the ways of the master, to the ways of the oppressor”. (7) This shows us how the colonist was trying to assimilate the natives to their way of life. After taking away the native’s identity and stripping him of his dignity, the natives are left unstable with an unhealthy amount of scattered anger. This anger is developed because of the relationship between the colonist and the colonized.
Fanon elaborates on the relationship between the colonized and the colonist throughout the essay. One needs to know the setting in each of these individual groups, before one can fully understand the relationship between the two. We will first start off by disclosing the world of the colonist. Fanon compares the life of a colonist to a structure; it shows the colonist ideas to be concrete and has a sense of order. One can really digest this thought through the colonist sector described as being “protected by solid in a sector where the streets are clean and smooth”.
Fanon introduces the racist beliefs that the colonist world had. Fanon states “You are rich because you are white; you are white because you are rich”. (5) This statement shows that it was not just a class problem, but there was also a race issue as well. The colonist sector contrasts with the native sector which as Fanon describes as a place of chaos. The natives in this sector “are born anywhere, anyhow. You die anywhere, from anything. ” (Fanon, 4) This shows the natives world to be unorganized and cramped, a place where no one has a face.
When one has nothing and the desire for everything, the feeling on envy comes from an individual. (Fanon, 5) This puts the colonist on edge because he/her are constantly aware of the colonized “wanting to take their place”. (Fanon, 5, 23) The colonized motives are simply put when Fanon states “What they demand is not the status of colonist, but his place”. (23) This statement shows the enormous amount of tension that is between the colonist and the colonized. This presents the unfairness and exploitation that the “foreigner” (colonist) imposes on the original natives of the land. 5) This is a place where the colonist world is a “slated, sluggish sector, its belly is permanently full of good things” and the colonized world is a “famished sector hungry for bread, meat, shoes, coal, and light. The colonized’s sector is a sector that crouches and cowers, a sector on its knees, a sector that is prostrate. ” (Fanon, 4, 5) The image Fanon paints for us, using a very powerful use of vocabulary, is extremely vivid. One can almost feel the resentment that the colonized had towards the colonist, kind of a glimpse in to the unjust and unequal world of the colonized.
One may also see how violence could be used as an output for this source of anger. The colonized were not violent before the colonist. It was the colonist who taught the colonized the use of violence. Violence is the main reason why the colonist was able to decolonize the colonized nation. Colonists are people who are born with the knowledge of “their cramped world, riddled with taboos, which can only be challenged by out and out violence”. (Fanon, 3) The colonist gained control of the colonized world through the use of violence.
Fanon describes the colonist forcing their ideas on them using the mechanism of fear. He states that in the capitalist economy there are councilors, sermonizers, and “confusion-mongers” to make sure the exploited don’t step out of line but in colonial regions “direct intervention by the police and the military ensure the colonized are kept under close scrutiny and contained by rifle butts and napalm”. (Fanon, 4) This is how the colonized were taught the use of violence. The colonized, as stated before, have many factors that cause him/her to have an enormous amount of resentment and anger inside.
This use of violence is an output for this anger and resentment, as are other things. This process purges these emotions, so that an individual can feel stability again. Unfortunately, the colonized do not just use violence to act against the colonist but they also use violence against each other. This is shown through native tribal wars and fights. The use of violence is a way that the colonized use to fight against what the colonist has done to them and to rid of the exploding emotions of anger and resentment.
The colonized had a very powerful reason for the use of violence, a reason full of hatred. This is understandable considering what the colonist put the colonized through on a daily basis. It is human instinct to fight back against what you think is unfair and unjust. It is reasonable to act on your anger and change it into violence, especially if that’s all you have been taught. Fanon presents a mind -opening explanation of the colonized actions and feelings. He fabricates an essay that portrays violence as not only a physical force but also a emotional force as well.