"[My relationships were] like I was in these movies where the script was only half-written. When I’d get to the end of this half-script, the other actors wanted me to ad lib. But I had never gotten the hang of that. That’s why these movies were always box-office failures. Six of them in the past twenty years. I always blew the lines." ~ from my horrible first novel "Learn How To Pretend." (unpublished)(obviously)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Concerning Violence

Frantz Fanon, in his article, “Concerning Violence,” declares that in the course of decolonialization, there is no place for the self-centered person who looks out for himself. As he puts it, “the motto ‘look out for yourself,’ the atheist’s method of salvation, is, in this context forbidden” (Fanon – 38).  Once the process of decolonialization begins, all members of the indigenous populations become members of the resistance – whether in actual fact, or merely as guilty-by-association. Gillo Pontecorvo uses this concept in “The Battle of Algiers” to show how even the seemingly innocent act of participating in a work shutdown draws all members of the community – willingly or unwillingly – into the struggle. In the film Ben M’hidi reminds Ali that all workers who participated in the strike are now known by the police and are therefore suspected members of the FLN. In the same section, Fanon describes how the act of faith that the native intellectual engages in as a given part of the struggle. “Egoism, recrimination that springs from pride, and the childish stupidity of those who always want to have the last word,” (ibid.) are things that must be destroyed in the life of the intellectual. In the film, Ali La Pointe, prior to joining the FLN, smashes a man in the mouth in retribution for a slight offense, yet later, he leaves this response behind and becomes a disciplined fighter. Likewise, the women who once adhered to the code of sharia, not appearing in public without their bhurkas and veils, now adopt western dress in order to carry bombs into the businesses of the occupiers.

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