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Film : The Iron Giant (1999), Dr. Strangelove (1964), The Battle for Algiers (1966) Write a two page response, 650 words to one of the following two questions. Write in 12-point font, Times New Roman, double spaced, with one-inch margins. Submit in ONLY .doc, .docx, or .pdf formats. Only Choose One prompt 1) Niebuhr identifies a number of ironies and contradictions in the United States’ role as a world superpower in conflict with communism during the Cold War. Identify at least two examples of these ironies and contradictions, and their consequences, in either The Iron Giant or Doctor Strangelove. Cite at least two direct quotations from Niebuhr’s text in your answer. *OR* 2) The Battle for Algiers depicts the violence of both the French colonial government and the Algerian resistance in the latter’s struggle for national independence. Discuss how both Franz Fanon and Martin Luther King Jr. would assess the use of violence in the conflict. Would they think the violence is justified? Why or why not? Ultimately, do you think that Fanon and MLK would be on the side of the resistance? In your answer, cite at least one quotation from both Fanon and MLK.


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Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Penguin, 1990): excerpts
Chapter 1 Concerning Violence
The settlers’ town is strongly built, all made of stone and steel. It is a brightly-lit town; the streets are covered
with asphalt, and the garbage-cans swallow all the leavings, unseen, unknown and hardly thought about. The
settler’s feet are never visible, except perhaps in the sea; ;but there you’re never close enough to see them. His
feel are protected by strong shoes although the streets of his town are clean… The settler’s town is a well-fed
town, an easy-going town; its belly is always full of good things. The settler’s town is a town of white people,
of foreigners…
The town belonging to the colonized people, or at least the native town, the Negro village, the medina, the
reservation, is a place of ill-fame, peopled by men of evil repute. They are born there, it matters little where and
how they die there; it matters not where, nor how. It is a world without spaciousness; men there live on top of
each other… The native town is a hungry town, starve3d of bread, of meat, of shoes, of coal, of light. The
native town is a crouching village, a town on its knees, a town wallowing in the mire… The look that the native
turns on the settler’s town is a look of lust, a look of envy; it expresses his dreams of possession…
National liberation, national renaissance, the restoration of nationhood to the people, commonwealth: whatever
may be the headings used or the new formulas introduced, decolonization is always a violent phenomenon.
At whatever level we study it relationships between individuals, new names 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’ of men by another ‘ species ‘ of men.
Without any period of transition, there is a total, complete and absolute substitution. It is true that we could
equally well stress the rise of a new nation, the setting up of a new state, its diplomatic relations, and its
economic and political trends…
To tell the truth, the proof of success lies in a whole social structure being changed from the bottom up. The
extraordinary importance of this change is that it is willed, called for, demanded. The need for this change exists
in its crude state, impetuous and compelling, in the consciousness and in the lives of the men and women who
are colonised. But the possibility of this change is equally experienced in the form of a terrifying future in the
consciousness of another ‘ species ‘ of men and women: the colonisers.
Decolonization, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a programme of complete
disorder. But it cannot come as a result of magical practices, nor of a natural shock, nor of a friendly
understanding. Decolonization, as we know, is a historical process: that is to say that it cannot be understood, it
cannot become intelligible nor clear to itself except in the exact measure that we can discern the movements
which give it historical form and content. Decolonization is the meeting of two forces, opposed to each other by
their very nature, which in fact owe their originality to that sort of substantification which results from and is
nourished by the situation in the colonies. ….
Decolonization never takes place unnoticed, for it influences individuals and modifies them fundamentally. It
transforms spectators crushed with their inessentiality into privileged actors, with the grandiose glare of
history’s floodlights upon them. It brings a natural rhythm into existence, introduced by new men, and with it a
new language and a new humanity. Decolonization is the veritable creation of new men. But this creation owes
nothing of its legitimacy to any supernatural power; the ‘thing’ which has been colonised becomes man during
the same process by which it frees itself.
In decolonization, there is therefore the need of a complete calling in question of the colonial situation…The
naked truth of decolonization evokes for us the searing bullets and bloodstained knives which emanate from it.
…You do not turn any society, however primitive it may be, upside-down with such a programme if you are not
decided from the very beginning, that is to say from the actual formulation of that programme, to overcome all
the obstacles that you will come across in so doing. The native who decides to put the programme into practice,
and to become its moving force, is ready for violence at all times….
The colonial world is a world cut in two. The dividing line, the frontiers are shown by barracks and police
stations. In the colonies it is the policeman and the soldier who are the official, instituted go-betweens, the
spokesmen of the settler and his rule of oppression…. In the colonial countries…. the policeman and the soldier,
by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him
by means of rifle-butts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the
language of pure force. The intermediary does not lighten the oppression, nor seek to hide the domination; he
shows them up and puts them into practice with the clear conscience of an upholder of the peace; yet he is the
bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native….
….(the) exploited man sees that his liberation implies the use of all means, and that of force first and foremost.
When in 1956, after the capitulation of Monsieur Guy Mollet to the settlers in Algeria, the Front de Liberation
Nationale, in a famous leaflet, stated that colonialism only loosens its hold when the knife is at its throat, no
Algerian really found these terms too violent. The leaflet only expressed what every Algerian felt at heart:
colonialism is not a thinking machine, nor a body endowed with reasoning faculties. It is violence in its natural
state, and it will only yield when confronted with greater violence.
At the decisive moment, the colonialist bourgeoisie, which up till then has remained inactive, comes into the
field. It introduces that new idea which is in proper parlance a creation of the colonial situation: non-violence.
In its simplest form this non-violence signifies to the intellectual and economic elite of the colonised country
that the bourgeoisie has the same interests as them and that it is therefore urgent and indispensable to come to
terms for the public good.
Non-violence is an attempt to settle the colonial problem around a green baize table, before any regrettable act
has been performed or irreparable gesture made, before any blood has been shed. But if the masses, without
waiting for the chairs to be arranged around the baize table, listen to their own voice and begin committing
outrages and setting fire to buildings, the elites and the nationalist bourgeois parties will be seen rushing to the
colonialists to exclaim ‘ This is very serious! We do not know how it will end; we must find a solution – some
sort of compromise.’
This idea of compromise is very important in the phenomenon of decolonization, for it is very far from being a
simple one. Compromise involves the colonial system and the young nationalist bourgeoisie at one and the
same time.
The partisans of the colonial system discover that the masses may destroy everything. Blown-up bridges,
ravaged farms, repressions and fighting harshly disrupt the economy. Compromise is equally attractive to the
nationalist bourgeoisie, who since they are not clearly aware of the possible consequences of the rising storm,
are genuinely afraid of being swept away by this huge hurricane and never stop saying to the settlers: ‘ we are
still capable of stopping the slaughter; the masses still have confidence in us; act quickly if you do not want to
put everything in jeopardy.’
But it so happens that for the colonized people this violence, because it constitutes their only work, invests their
characters with positive and creative qualities. The practice of violence binds them together as a whole, since
each individual forms a violent link in the great chain, a part of the great organism of violence which has surged
upward in reaction to the settler’s violence in the beginning. The groups recognize each other and the future
nation is already indivisible. The armed struggle mobilizes the people; that is to say, it throws them in one way
and in one direction.
The mobilization of the masses, when it arises out of the war of liberation, introduces into each man’s
consciousness the ideas of a common cause, of a national destiny, and of a collective history. In the same way
the second phase, that of the building-up of the nation, is helped on by the existence of this cement which has
been mixed with blood and anger. Thus we come to a fuller appreciation of the originality of the words used in
these underdeveloped countries. During the colonial period the people are called upon to fight against
oppression; after national liberation, they are called upon to fight against poverty, illiteracy, and
underdevelopment. The struggle, they say, goes on. The people realize that life is an unending contest.
We have said that the native’s violence unifies the people. By its very structure, colonialism is separatist and
regionalist. Colonialism does not simply state the existence of tribes; it also reinforces it and separates them.
The colonial system encourages chieftaincies and keeps alive the old Marabout confraternities. Violence is in
action all inclusive and national. It follows that it is closely involved in the liquidation of regionalism and of
tribalism. Thus the national parties show no pity at all toward the customary chiefs. Their destruction is the
preliminary to the unification of the people.
At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and
from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect. Even if the armed struggle has
been symbolic and the nation is demobilized through a rapid movement of decolonization, the people have the
time to see that the liberation has been the business of each and all and that the leader has no special merit.
Chapter 2: Violence in the International Context
This European opulence is literally scandalous, for it has been founded on slavery, it has been nourished with
the blood of slaves and it comes directly from the soil and from the subsoil of the under-developed world. The
well-being and the progress of Europe have been built up with the sweat and the dead bodies of Negroes, Arabs,
Indians, and the yellow races. We have decided not to overlook this any longer…. Europe is literally the
creation of the Third World. The wealth that smothers her is that which was stolen from the under-developed
Chapter 3: The Pitfalls of National Consciousness
HISTORY teaches us clearly that the battle against colonialism does not run straight away along the lines of
nationalism… National consciousness, instead of being the all-embracing crystallization of the innermost hopes
of the whole people, instead of being the immediate and most obvious result of the mobilization of the people,
will be in any case only an empty shell, a crude and fragile travesty of what it might have been. The faults that
we find in it are quite sufficient explanation of the facility with which, when dealing with young and
independent nations, the nation is passed over for the race, and the tribe is preferred to the state. These are the
cracks in the edifice which show the process of retrogression that is so harmful and prejudicial to national effort
and national unity….
The national middle class which takes over power at the end of the colonial regime is an under-developed
middle class. It has practically no economic power, and in any case it is in no way commensurate with the
bourgeoisie of the mother country which it hopes to replace. In its willful narcissism, the national middle class
is easily convinced that it can advantageously replace the middle class of the mother country. But that same
independence which literally drives it into a comer will give rise within its ranks to catastrophic reactions, and
will oblige it to send out frenzied appeals for help to the former mother country. The university and merchant
classes which make up the most enlightened section of the new state are in fact characterized by the smallness
of their number and their being concentrated in the capital, and the type of activities in which they are engaged:
business, agriculture and the liberal professions. Neither financiers nor industrial magnates are to be found
within this national middle class. The national bourgeoisie of under-developed countries is not engaged in
production, nor in invention, nor building, nor labour; it is completely canalized into activities of the
intermediary type. Its innermost vocation seems to be to keep in the running and to be part of the racket…
The crystallization of the national consciousness will both disrupt literary styles and themes, and also create a
completely new public. While at the beginning the native intellectual used to produce his work to be read
exclusively by the oppressor, whether with the intention of charming him or of denouncing him through
ethnical or subjectivist means, now the native writer progressively takes on the habit of addressing his own
It is only from that moment that we can speak of a national literature. Here there is, at the level of literary
creation, the taking up and clarification of themes which are typically nationalist. This may be properly called a
literature of combat, in the sense that it calls on the whole people to fight for their existence as a nation. It is a
literature of combat, because it moulds the national consciousness, giving it form and contours and flinging
open before it new and boundless horizons; it is a literature of combat because it assumes responsibility, and
because it is the will to liberty expressed in terms of time and space.
On another level, the oral tradition – stories, epics and songs of the people – which formerly were filed away as
set pieces are now beginning to change. The storytellers who used to relate inert episodes now bring them alive
and introduce into them modifications which are increasingly fundamental. There is a tendency to bring
conflicts up to date and to modernise the kinds of struggle which the stories evoke, together with the names of
heroes and the types of weapons. The method of allusion is more and more widely used. The formula ‘This all
happened long ago’ is substituted by that of ‘What we are going to speak of happened somewhere else, but it
might well have happened here today, and it might happen tomorrow’. The example of Algeria is significant in
this context. From 1952-3 on, the storytellers, who were before that time stereotyped and tedious to listen to,
completely overturned their traditional methods of storytelling and the contents of their tales. Their public,
which was formerly scattered, became compact. The epic, with its typified categories, reappeared; it became an
authentic form of entertainment which took on once more a cultural value. Colonialism made no mistake when
from 1955 on it proceeded to arrest these storytellers systematically.
Chapter 4 On National Culture
The claim to a national culture in the past does not only rehabilitate that nation and serve as a justification for
the hope of a future national culture. In the sphere of psycho-affective equilibrium it is responsible for an
important change in the native. Perhaps we have not sufficiently demonstrated that colonialism is not simply
content to impose its rule upon the present and the future of a dominated country. Colonialism is not satisfied
merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the native’s brain of all form and content. By a kind of
perverted logic, it turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures, and destroys it….
The Negroes who live in the United States and in Central or Latin America in fact experience the need to attach
themselves to a cultural matrix. Their problem is not fundamentally different from that of the Africans. The
whites of America did not mete out to them any different treatment from that of the whites that ruled over the
Africans. We have seen that the whites were used to putting all Negroes in the same bag. During the first
congress of the African Cultural Society which was held in Paris in 1956, the American Negroes of their own
accord considered their problems from the same standpoint as those of their African brothers. Cultured
Africans, speaking of African civilizations, decreed that there should be a reasonable status within the state for
those who had formerly been slaves. But little by little the American Negroes realized that the essential
problems confronting them were not the same as those that confronted the African Negroes.
The intellectual, who is Arab and French, or Nigerian and English, when he comes up against the need to take
on two nationalities, chooses, if he wants to remain true to himself, the negation of one of these determinations.
But most often, since they cannot or will not make a choice, such intellectuals gather together all the historical
determining factors which have conditioned them and take up a fundamentally ‘universal standpoint*. This is
because the native intellectual has thrown himself greedily upon Western culture. Like adopted children who
only stop investigating the new family framework at the moment when a minimum nucleus of security
crystallizes in their psyche, the native intellectual will try to make European culture his own. He will not be
content to get to know Rabelais and Diderot, Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe; he will bind them to his
intelligence as closely as possible…
But at the moment when the nationalist parties are mobilizing the people in the name of national independence,
the native intellectual sometimes spurns these acquisitions which he suddenly feels make him a stranger in his
own land….
He sets a high value on the customs, traditions and the appearances of his people but his inevitable, painful
experience only seems to be a banal search for exoticism. The sari becomes sacred, and shoes that come from
Paris or Italy are left off in favour of paxnpootiea, while suddenly the language of the ruling power is felt to
burn your lips….
In the second phase we find the native is disturbed; he decides to remember what he is. This period of creative
work approximately corresponds to that immersion which we have just described. But since the native is not a
part of his people, since he only has exterior relations with his people, he is content to recall their life only. Past
happenings of the bygone days of his childhood will be brought up out of the depths of his memory; old legends
will be reinterpreted in the light of a borrowed aestheticism and of a conception of the world which was
discovered under other skies.
Sometimes this literature of just-before-the-battle is dominated by humour and by allegory; but often too it is
symptomatic of a period of distress and difficulty, where death is experienced, and disgust too. We spew
ourselves up; but already underneath laughter can be heard.
Finally, in the third phase, which is called the fighting phase, the native, after having tried to lose himself in the
people and with the people, will on the contrary shake the people. Instead of according the people’s lethargy an
honoured place in his esteem, he turns himself into an awakener of the people; hence comes a fighting literature,
a revolutionary literature, and a national literature. During this phase a great many men and women who up till
then would never have thought of producing a litera …
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