The Crisis of (Post-Colonial) Identity

Decolonization, as Frantz Fanon suggests, is but replacing the (former) colonists with a new generation of previously-colonized elites. Not only do these new leaders “tend to forget the very purpose of the struggle [to] defeat […] colonialism” (13), they are ironically the ones who perpetuate those atrocities that were suffered by their forefathers. In more concrete terms, this means that those supposedly decolonized nations are still maintaining the “status quo” – with the “symbols of society such as the police force, bulge calls in the barracks, military parades” (16) firmly intact – while “instill[ing] in the exploited a mood of submission and inhibition which considerably eases the task of the agents of law and order” (3-4). Put simply, the one thing that has changed is that violence is now committed on the ‘blacks’ by the ‘blacks’ (paraphrasing Fanon; 15).

 

This, to me, urgently questions the rather aggrandized ideal of modernity: have we really become more liberal, equal and fraternal (borrowing from the French), or are the past and present rulers merely engaging in a “narcissistic monologue” (11) albeit different ‘nationalities’? I believe we have passed the point where we only want our leaders to ‘look’ like us superficially; we demand that they re-utilize the merits ‘our’ people earned through their colonial history for our people’s sake, instead of solely maintaining the legacy of that economic ‘superstructure’.

 

But this is as difficult as attaining any ideals are. We can surely see the character Aziz portray an insistence on preserving his culture while succumbing to the control of the Civil Surgeon. My issue is: why is he called “imprudent” for it by his fellow countrymen? Isn’t this very scene showing us the effect of “the colonist who fabricated and continues to fabricate the colonized subject” (2)?

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