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decolonization

By elm134 Nov 27, 2014 845 Words
Emily Maggioncalda
10 November
Decolonization
Empire building is a long-established theme throughout the history of the world. Societies have sought to dominate weaker nations with motives of obtaining natural resources, accruing wealth, and exhibiting nationalist power. Up until the mid 19th century most European nations dominated neighboring regions. Technological advancements and the need for industrial materials forced the Europeans to expand, they then set out to build empires all over the world. The French controlled three territories of Northern Africa: the Protectorates of Morocco in the West, Tunisia in the East, and Algeria in the center. The end of WWII brought with it a false sense of security for some, especially those ruled by Europeans powers. Post-war debt left most European colonies deprived. While the Europeans wanted to continue control of their territories natives thought otherwise, the end result was a demand for independence.

Throughout the Second World War the colonies provided war materials and troops in hopes of a returned reward for their support. At the start of the war Western Officials had promised the Colonial people greater political rights. Complete autonomy was the ultimate goal of Algeria during the mid 20th century. During this time the United States produced a conductive environment for European withdrawal throughout the colonies. The United States primary objective during the Cold War was to ultimately contain Soviet expansion. Beginning in 1948, United States’ induced a massive aid relief to help rebuild the economies of Western Europe through the Marshall Plan. Factions were also set up in order to push the colonies towards self-reliance. The FLN (National Liberation Front) was established in 1954, it was a socialist political party in Algeria and fought for independence from France. In Taleb-Ibrahimi’s letter to Albert Camus he defends the goals of the Algerian revolution, while simultaneous mocking Camus for his lack of nationalistic character. He ensures Camus that the objective of the Revolution is not to rid Algeria of European inhabitants, but rather to win national independence. He proclaimed that with newfound freedom it will give the people of Algeria the opportunity to install a democratic, socialist republic that will guarantee equality to all citizens without discrimination.

Independence from France was no peaceful protest for Algeria. Radical opposition of a joint Franco-Muslim society forced the French to send military control to Algeria. Turmoil was not only seen in France’s overseas territories but also on their home front. Sartre argued that the violence in Algeria was the French people's collective responsibility. He believed the initial and fundamental violence into the Algerian situation was because of colonialism. He argued that the colonial system was structured around ‘controlled’ violence, and this in turn taught the natives to understand only violence. He concluded that the French felt guilty for the bloodshed they’d caused, and that it was their ultimate responsibility for them to come to terms with their own hypocrisy. He implies the wrongdoings of the governing class ‘feeding’ inaccurate information to the general working class. He feels information presented in alternative news, and pamphlets are completely erroneous, ultimately encouraging individuals not to be ignorant and to question such statements.

Albert Camus a political essayist and activist of the time strongly sided with the anti-colonial, humanistic movement. Camus was from a small city in the northeast region of French Algeria. He spent most of his literary career as a defender of freedom, and an enemy of terror. His logical interpretations opposed those of his peer, Jean Paul Sartre. Their opposing views on violence led them to react differently to the war in Algeria. Sartre accepted violent means as an acceptable tool in the fight for decolonization while Camus stood against the brutality of both sides.

Much of Frantz Fanon’s life was spent fighting on the French side for the war. However in 1954 France responded to Algerian insurrection with brutal repression, this event altered Fanon’s political stance on independence. Fanon began secretly helping the FLN despite numerous death threats from the French. In Fanon’s essay, “This Is the Voice of Algeria” he states his belief that through appropriate assimilation people can transform into citizens of a new nation, he upholds this claim of transformation to the interest in “news”, and radio use. Before 1945, the French National Broadcasting system operating from Paris controlled much of what was broadcasted on the radio. The French controlled the economic stratification between the dominant and the dominated societies through radio. He asserted there was no claim for the organized resistant of the device, and blamed this for the state of condition his people were in. At the end of 1956 change was being implemented. Thousands of Algerian families bought battery powered radio sets in hopes of obtaining access to communication about the present Revolution.

Through the process of decolonization most African territories, especially Algeria fought bloody cumbersome civil wars in hopes of total autonomy. Different regions of Africa experience varying degrees of success with independence. Decolonization seemed to produce brief moments of promise, however the sustained aftermath it brought in regards to economic and political success seem to remain contentious.

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