The Wretched of the Earth

Frantz Fanon is a talented and fluid writer. The Wretched of the Earth (Les Damnes de la Terre) is the Bible of decolonization and a study of the Algerian revolution. From the birth of revolt to the psychological scars it leaves behind, the medical psychiatrist, philosopher and revolutionary, documents the independence process and answers its biggest questions. The book is split into five key sections; Concerning Violence, Spontaneity, The Pitfalls of National Consciousness, On National Culture and Colonial War and Mental Disorders.

“Today, in the political sphere, the Arab League is giving palpable form to this will to take up against the heritage of the past and to bring it to culmination. Today, Arab doctors and Arab poets speak to each other across frontiers, and strive to create a new Arab culture and a new Arab civilization. It is in the name of Arabism that these men join together, and that they try to think together. Everywhere, however, in the Arab world, national feeling has preserved, even under colonial domination, a liveliness that we fail to find in Africa…The problem is not as yet to lay hold of a movement differentiated by nations, but to assume an African or Arabic culture when confronted nu the all-embracing condemnation pronounced by the dominating power”

Here he discusses the vacuum which is created by the colonial powers in order to disenfranchise – to divide and rule. He observed that the Arab culture survived this dilution; something he did not see reflected in Sub Saharan Africa at the time. His admiration for the bullish will of Algerian freedom fighters led the man from Martinique to ingratiate himself into Algerian culture, frequently expressed throughout the book. A must read for politicos, those interested in the subject of colonialism, national identity and Algerian history.


See below for a short introduction on his life (2 parts, 10 minutes each):

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