Fanon and the process of decolonization

Fanon argues that the colonists’ basis for colonizing foreign lands is the belief in the native’s ‘ “negation of values “. Because of the native’s lack of values, the colonist deems his own action reasonable and altruistic. It also gives him the right to continue to lord over the ‘immoral’ colonized. Such a line of reasoning also implies the colonist’s ‘divine right’ to rule over the colonized.  As the colonists becomes increasingly absorbed and bought over by this line of thinking, the barbaric nature of colonization is lost upon them.

But the natives are not spared from adopting this line of thinking themselves. The ultimate solution to achieving peace in the colony is to convince the natives that they are unable to run their countries themselves, and they would return to the Middle Ages once the colonists leave. Thus, Fanon insists that violence is at the core of de-colonization. Violence is perhaps the only way to break the belief that the colonized is inherently inferior to the colonist.

Unlike Fanon, I do not think that violence must take the form of colonized against colonist. Britain’s de-colonization in South East Asia can be a case in point. For Singapore’s case, violence against the colonist was not the key that brought about de-colonization. Instead, it was the violence of WWII inflicted upon Britain that convinced them to leave. The war torn Britain could no longer sustain their colonist position economically. Furthermore, her defeat to Japan in SEA demystified its superior colonist image.

Thus, while Fanon’s argument on the process of de-colonization is useful but it cannot be applied generically to all colonies.

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