Thursday 17 November 2016

Fanon as Example and Figure: A Conversation Between Oscar Guardiola-Rivera and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

“Let me say from the outset that it would be a mistake to make Fanon into a clay model for revolution,” says Gayatri Spivak. I’ve asked her about Göran Olson’s 2014 celebrated documentary Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense, which she prefaced. Herself the author of an influential body work that includes A Critique of Postcolonial Reason and more recently a translation of Aimé Césaire’s play A Season in the Congo, she engaged Olson’s film in signature critical mode. As a counterpoint to the documentary, her preface avoids the often repeated story of Fanon as a champion of counter-violence.  “Instead,” she says, “one must understand that in the initial chapters of The Wretched of the Earth, which a lot of people read as an apology of violence, Fanon is actually claiming complicity with what was surrounding him. That is, the violence of colonization.” “I will be as violent as they are, when they hold my life as worth less than theirs,” says Frantz Fanon, the healer. 

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