SOME OBSERVATIONS REGARDING VIOLENCE
Frantz Fanon, ‘Concerning Violence’ National liberation, national renaissance, the restoration of nationhood to the people, commonwealth: whatever may be the headings used or the formulas introduced, decolonization is always a violent phenomenon. At whatever level we study it – relationship between individuals, new neames for sports clubs, the human admixture at cocktail parties, in the police, on the directing boards of national or private banks – decolonization is quite simply the replacing of a certain “species” or men by another “species” of men. 1 You do not turn any society, however primitive it may be, upside down with such a program if you have not decided from the very beginning, that is to say from the actual foundation of that program, to overcome all the obstacles that you will come across in so doing. The native who decides to put the program into practice, and to become its moving force, is ready for violence at all times. From birth it is clear to him that his narrow world, strewn with prohibitions, can only be called in question by absolute violence. 2 Raymond Williams, ‘Keywords’ Violence is often now a difficult word, because its primary sense is of physical assault, as in “robbery with violence,” yet it is also used more widely in ways that are not easy to define. If we take physical assault as sense (i) we can take a clear general sense (ii) as the use of physical force, including the distant use of weapons or bombs, but we have then to add that this seems to be specialized to “unauthorized” uses: the violence of a “terrorist” but not, except by its opponents, of an army, where “force” is preferred and most operations of war and preparation for war are described as “defence”; or the similar partisan range between “putting under restraint” or “restoring order,” and “police violence.” We can note also a relatively simple sense (iii), which is not always clearly distinguished from (i) and...
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