Frantz Fanon: The Wretched of the Earth…remain wretched

Contribution of Jesus Chucho Garcia, member of the Frantz Fanon Foundation and former General Consul of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the United States. 

December 6 marks the 62nd anniversary of the death of the Afro Martinican leader, Frantz Fanon. Born July 20, 1925, in Fort-de-France, Martinique, he was a pioneer of decolonization, but unfortunately in the present-day, has had his theoretical approach whitewashed by the white left in Latin America and the Caribbean. They have taken away the profound meaning of this doctor, psychiatrist, and diplomat who fought against the Nazis and later contributed to the liberation of Algeria.

In 2018, the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) and Dr. Ron Daniels’ Institute of the Black World 21st Century held a meeting in New Orleans that was designed to address the United Nations’ declared International Decade for People of African Descent and the concept of reparations for African enslavement. There, I met with Dr. Mireille Fanon, Frantz Fanon’s daughter who serves as president of the Paris-based Frantz Fanon Foundation

In our dialogue we looked at the importance of her father’s ideas and the continuation of his agenda as set out in his books “Black Skin, White Masks,” “Toward the African Revolution,” and “The Wretched of the Earth.” We then examined the current problems of neo-slavery, the intensification of racism, and the current state of the world’s anti-imperialist struggles.

In his book “Black Skin, White Masks,” Fanon develops the themes of alienation, endoracism (racism by those who suffer discrimination themselves) among African descendants, and the need to fight against colonial and neocolonial submission. He wrote that, “He who is reluctant to recognize me opposes me. In a savage struggle I am willing to accept convulsions of death, invincible dissolution, but also the possibility of the impossible.” His message remains effective for Afrodescendants who still show a lack of identity and who allow themselves to be the targets of direct racism, endoracism, and structural racism as it exists in capitalist and progressive countries. “It is shameful,” said Dr. Fanon, “what is happening in Libya where there is slavery and inhuman mistreatment of the neo-slaves, after NATO destroyed one of the most stable countries in the world, under the leadership of Muammar al-Qaddafi. And the treatment that African migrants are suffering in Europe is unacceptable to human reason, particularly after more than a million Africans participated in the Europe-centered first and second world wars.”

The Wretched of the Earth today

The wretched of the earth are still “wretched,” evidenced by the millions of elders, women, and children who are killed by the constant bombardment of Israel against the Palestinian people. The wretched of the earth are the hundreds of thousands of Black African refugees and migrants who try to reach Europe and die in their attempt to reach Italy’s island of Lampedusa, while others die of thirst crossing the Sahara trying to reach Morocco and trying to travel on from there to Spain. Many more have died crossing Panama’s Darien Gap. 

Black African migrants and asylum seekers are often victims of human trafficking, forced prostitution, and rape as they travel migrant routes toward Europe. They have faced degrading treatment in North Africa and within countries of the European Union once they arrive within those borders. They have been herded like cattle and given little food or water in Tunisia. 23 were killed in the north African city of Melilla on June 24, 2022, when they tried to climb a border fence and were beaten by Moroccan authorities. El Salvador is now charging anyone traveling with a passport from any African country through the Central American nation a $1,000 tax. Italy has passed laws that say migrants can be detained for up to 18 months, and England is trying to find a way to forcibly return African asylum seekers from the United Kingdom to Rwanda—even if it’s not their country of origin.

Fanon’s theories about the wretched of the earth remain valid today.

Jesus Chucho Garcia

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