The wretched of the occupation: Sartre, fanon, and the experience of violence

Abstract

Though it is well known that Frantz Fanon was influenced by Jean-Paul Sartre, and that Sartre was a supporter of Fanon, little attention has been paid to the conflict that existed between their respective views on the violence they lived through and wrote about. In "Paris under the Occupation", Sartre tries to explain to the reader what it felt like to live under the rule of an enemy whose omnipresence forced the aggression and hostility of the French back against themselves, leaving them both defeated and ashamed. Yet in "The Wretched of The Earth", to prove to the world that the suffering of the Algerians was so great as to not only create their murderous rage but to justify its use, Fanon makes an example of the occupation to show that it was nothing compared to colonialism. By exploring this tension between these accounts, this paper will study Sartre's existential analyses of occupation and Fanon's psychiatric diagnoses of colonization so that we can see where these accounts actually intersect. This will allow us to better understand what violence can do to anyone forced to live under its rule.

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Nolen Gertz
University of Twente

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