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HYPERGHETTO / 2002

lecture 1: violence

Frantz Fanon (1925-1961):

The zone where the natives live is not complementary to the zone inhabited
by the settlers. The two zones are opposed, but not in the service of a
higher unity. Obedient to the rule of Aristotelian logic, they both follow
the principle of reciprocal exclusivity. No conciliation is possible, for
of the two terms, one is superfluous. The settlers´ town is a strongly
built town, all made of stone and steel. It is a brightly lit town; the
streets are covered with asphalt, and the garbage cans swallow all the
leavings, unseen, unknown and hardly thought about. The settler´s feet are
never visible, except perhaps in the sea; but there you´re never close
enough to see them. His feet are protected by strong shoes although the
streets of his town are clean and even, with no holes and stones. The
settler´s town is a well-fed town, an easygoing town; its belly is always
full of good things. The settlers´ town is a town of white people, of
foreigners.
The town belonging to the colonized people, or at least the native town,
the Negro village, the medina, the reservation, is a place of ill fame,
peopled by men of evil repute. They are born there, it matters little where
or how; they die there, it matters not where, nor how. It is a world
without spaciousness; men live there on top of the other. The native town
is a hungry town, starved of bread, of meat, of shoes, of coal, of light.
The native town is a crouching village, a town on its knees, a town
wallowing in the mire.....
(Frantz Fanon: The Wretched of the the Earth, New York 1963, p.38/39)

The settler-native relationship is a mass relationship. The settler pits
brute force against the wight of numbers. He ist an exhibitionist. His
preoccupation with security makes him remind the native out loud that there
he alone is master. The settlers keeps alive in the native an anger which
he deprives of outlet; the native is trapped in the tight links of the
chains of colonialism. But we have seen that inwardly the settler can only
achieve a pseudo petrification. The native´s musuclar tension finds outlet
regulary in bloodthirsty explosions - in tribal warfare, in feuds between
septs, and in quarrels between individuals.
Where individuals are concerned, a positive negation of common sense is
evident. While the settler or the policeman has the right the livelong day
to strike the native, to insult him und to make him crawl to them, you will
see the native reaching for his knife at the slightest hostile or
aggressive glance cast on him by another native; for the last resort of the
native is to defend his personality vis-a-vis his brother. Tribal feuds
only serve to perpetuate old grudges buried deep in the memory. By throwing
himself with all his force into the vendetta, the native tries to persuade
himself that colonialism does not exist, that evrything is going on as
before, that histrory countinues. Here on the level communal organizations
we clearly discern the well-known behavior patterns of avoidance. It is as
if plunging into a fraternal bloodbath allowed them to ignore the obstacle,
and to put off till later the choice, nevertheless inevitable , which opens
up the question of armed resistance to colonialism.
(Frantz Fanon: The Wretched of the the Earth, New York 1963, p.53/54)

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