Frantz Fanon. Revolutionist or Terrorist?

Frantz Fanon was a notable sociologist of the 20th century.  His Martinique roots most likely helped to influence his perspectives on anti-colonialism, as Martinique was colonized by the French.  While he worked for the French military in Algiers, Fanon realized through emotionally traumatized soldiers that the brutality of the French efforts of suppressing the Algerian revolution (torture) was detrimental.

One of Fanon’s most famous concepts is Decolonization Theory.  The essence of which has to do with the belief that all people deserve and require recognition of their humanity, all people deserve moral consideration, and that we cannot consider other humans as dispensable (as many countries do when colonizing, or suppressing who they consider to be “lesser”).

I understand that these core concepts of respect and equality are wonderful and should be embraced by all people, but the way in which Fanon has preached revolution has darkened my perspective of him towards the negative.

Fanons perspectives on violence, essentially explained the acceptance of violence as a result of the colonization process.  The colonized would either transfer violent tendencies within their own communities, or they would deliver it directly to those who started the violence/colonization.  This was essentially condoning violent revolution.

Fanons perspectives struck a nerve with me because they could be easily transferable to the terrorists of todays world.  Terrorism today is a growing occurrence with people living in fear, and violence running amuck.  Terrorist organizations with leaders like Bin Laden have justified guerilla warfare and the killing of civilians as well as foreign troops with similar perspectives of violent revolution as Fanon.  Some of these terrorist organizations have felt repressed by western perspectives of democracy and globalization (and Law) that has been slowly (very slowly) integrated into their society.  They essentially feel colonized by western beliefs.

I believe that terrorist groups today would respect Fanon, and his perspectives, as well as use them to justify more violence in the name of their cause.

Here is a recent article about a terrorist on trial that inspired me to make the connection between Fanon and the motivations of terrorists today.


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