The Wretched of the Earth

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The Church in the colonies is a white man’s Church, a foreigner’s Church. It does not call the colonized to the ways of God, but to the ways of the white man, the ways of the master, the ways of the oppressor.
The colonialist bourgeoisie is aided and abetted in the pacification of the colonized by the inescapable powers of religion. All the saints who turned the other cheek, who forgave those who trespassed against them, who, without flinching, were spat upon and insulted, are championed and shown as an example.

The Wretched of the Earth (French: Les Damnés de la Terre) is a 1961 book by Frantz Fanon, in which the author provides a psychiatric and psychological analysis of the dehumanizing effects of colonization upon the individual and the nation, and discusses the broader social, cultural, and political implications inherent to establishing a social movement for the decolonization of a person and of a people.

Quotes[edit]

Les Damnés de la Terre as translated by Richard Philcox (2004)

Preface[edit]

by Jean-Paul Sartre (1961)
  • Read Fanon: you will see that in a time of helplessness, murderous rampage is the collective unconscious of the colonized.
    • p. lii
  • The colonized protect themselves from colonial alienation by going one step better with religious alienation, with the ultimate end result of having accumulated two alienations, each of which reinforces the other.
    • p. liii
  • If the entire regime, even your nonviolent thoughts, is governed by a thousand-year-old oppression, your passiveness serves no other purpose than to put you on the side of the oppressors.
    • p. lvii
  • United by profit, the metropolitans baptized their commonwealth of crimes Fraternity and Love.
    • p. lx
  • In some places the metropolis makes do with paying a clique of feudal overlords; in others, it has fabricated a fake bourgeoisie of colonized subjects in a system of divide and rule; elsewhere, it has killed two birds with one stone: the colony is both settlement and exploitation.
    • p. xlvi
  • Today whenever two Frenchmen meet, there is a dead body between them.
    • p. lxii
  • Will we recover? Yes. Violence, like Achilles' spear, can heal the wounds it has inflicted.
    • p. lxii
  • Today we are in chains, humiliated, sick with fear: at our lowest ebb. Fortunately for us, this is still not enough for the colonialist aristocracy: it cannot accomplish its rearguard mission in Algeria until it has first finished colonizing the French.
    • p. lxii

Chapter 1: On Violence[edit]

  • The Church in the colonies is a white man’s Church, a foreigner’s Church. It does not call the colonized to the ways of God, but to the ways of the white man, the ways of the master, the ways of the oppressor.
    • p. 7.
  • The famous dictum which states that all men are equal will find its illustration in the colonies only when the colonized subject states he is equal to the colonist.
    • p. 9.
  • "Brother," "sister," "comrade" are words outlawed by the colonialist bourgeoisie because in their thinking my brother is my wallet and my comrade, my scheming.
    • p. 11.
  • The unemployed and the starving do not lay claim to truth. They do not say they represent the truth because they are the truth in their very being.
    • p. 13.
  • Colonialism is not a thinking machine, nor a body endowed with reasoning faculties. It is violence in its natural state, and it will only yield when confronted with greater violence.
    • p. 23.
  • The colonialist bourgeoisie is aided and abetted in the pacification of the colonized by the inescapable powers of religion. All the saints who turned the other cheek, who forgave those who trespassed against them, who, without flinching, were spat upon and insulted, are championed and shown as an example.
    • p. 28.
  • The very same people who had it constantly drummed into them that the only language they understood was that of force, now decide to express themselves with force.
    • p. 42.
  • The colonial regime owes its legitimacy to force and at no time does it ever endeavor to cover up this nature of things.
    • p. 42.
  • When the native hears a speech about Western culture he pulls out his knife—or at least he makes sure it is within reach. The violence with which the supremacy of white values is affirmed and the aggressiveness which has permeated the victory of these values over the ways of life and of thought of the native mean that, in revenge, the native laughs in mockery when Western values are mentioned in front of him.
    • p. 43.
  • For the colonized, life can only materialize from the rotting cadaver of the colonist.
    • p. 50.
  • This violent praxis is totalizing since each individual represents a violent link in the great chain, in the almighty body of violence rearing up in reaction to the primary violence of the colonizer.
    • p. 50
  • The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anticolonialism, indeed capitalism versus socialism, is already losing its importance. What matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity will have to address this question, no matter how devastating the consequences may be.
    • p. 55.
  • Colonialism and imperialism have not settled their debt to us once they have withdrawn their flag and their police force from our territories.
    • p. 57.

External links[edit]

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