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The Mentality of the Colonized:
Why Fallujah's lynching occurred

By Rene L. Gonzalez Berrios M.A.

04 April, 2004
Information Clearing House

Consider the following quotes from the most authoritative author on the mentality of the colonized, revolutionary psychatrist Frantz Fanon, writing in his landmark book, "The Wretched of the Earth",

"Decolonization is quite simply the replacing of a certain "species" of men by another "species" of men." - p. 35

"The last shall be first and the first last. Decolonization is the putting into practice of this sentence." - p. 37

"For if the last shall be first, this will only come to pass after a murderous and decisive struggle between the two protagonists." - p.

"The violence which has ruled over ordering of the colonial world, which has ceaselessly drummed the rhythm for the destruction of native social forms and broken up without reserve the systems of reference of the economy, the customs of dress and external life, that same violence will be claimed and taken over by the native at the moment when, deciding to embody history in his own person, he surges into the forbidden quarters" - p. 40

The lynchings of American civilians in Fallujah are not at all difficult to understand, should one be courageous enough to admit a few certain, contextual facts. First of all, let there be no illusion about the American occupation; it is colonial in nature. It is made possible by violence at the hands of occupation soldiers from the "Coalition of the Bribed", and ultimately guaranteed by their very presence in Iraq. Thus, in the overall context of powerlessness on the part of Iraqis to manifest their utter contempt for the humiliating, colonial rule of the American-led occupiers, their violent hatred will manifest itself in the type of lynchings that were witnessed in Fallujah. Quite simply, the Iraqis are intent on "replacing a certain "species" (Americans)" with another (themselves). It can be simplified to that savage reality. They want their country back, and they are willing to lynch every interloper in their way. It does not matter if those interlopers are attempting to rationalize their invasion of Iraqi territory through claims of "aiding the Iraqis"; what matters is that they are in Iraq at a time of national humiliation, and thus, they make themselves targets for the scorn of humiliated Iraqis. And, I do mean Iraqis, not "insurgents, terrorists, or fighters". It is clear that the people who lynched the Americans were not the "insurgents" who left the Americans at the mercy of the mob. It was regular Iraqis, representing the Iraqi national mood of hatred and humiliation.

No one should doubt the equally violent mentality of the colonizers. Consider the comments by American Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt and other Americans,

''We will pacify that city. ... It will be at the time and place of our choosing,'' - The Batt.Com article

"Let's just go in and level the town," said one angry American civilian. "Let's tell them to get their women and children out and then go in and level it." - The Telegraph article

The comments of regular Iraqis were equally disdainful of the worth of American or foreign lives,

"The Americans may think it is unusual but this is what they should expect. They show up in places and shoot civilians so why can't they be killed?" Falluja shop worker Amir said on Thursday. - News.FT.Com article

"Of course these things will happen. What do you expect with the Americans occupying Iraq and killing our people?" said a taxi driver who declined to give his name. - News.FT.Com article

The events in Fallujah do not require much academic or analytical description to understand. It is simple. The colonized will respond to the violence of the colonizers and imposition made possible by threat of violence in the manner of their choosing, usually in "kind" (violence), as Frantz Fanon highlighted in his book on the mentality of colonized. Those 4 Americans had to pay with their lives for the colonial imposition of the American occupiers. That the Iraqis are responding in such ways is evidence that the American invasion is colonial, and has always been in the eyes of the Iraqi people (which should be the only viewpoint that matters). It is only a surprising development to people who have not yet admitted to themselves that the invasion of Iraq was wrong, that it is colonial, that attempting to impose foreign rule breeds hatred on the part of the locals, and that the respone will most likely will violence. Only in the feeblest and most cowardly minds is the elephant in the room not a factor of their thinking. To paraphrase on a common argument for the importance of economic issues in U.S politics in the characterization of the Iraqi situatoin, "it's colonialism, stupid". It will take more "Fallujahs" to hit the message home to recalcitrant American and other foreigner minds who still harbor naive hopes for the re-ordering of Iraqi society along lines acceptable to Americans. It simply won't happen, and people must understand and digest this.s

Fallujah is a message to all who continue to naively believe that the American occupiers can impose a government of their choosing on Iraq. The invasion will be resisted with the most brutal and savage kind of violence; the same kind of brutal and savage violence that was evidenced by thousands of rockets, missiles, bullets, tank shells, depleted uraniun, and other measures that have characterized the American invasion until now. Violence will breed more violence.

In the eyes of this author, it is hard to argue with the logic of the arguments presented by the Iraqi people that, in many ways, the "Americans deserved this". It is also a testament to the impossibility of imposing American visions in Iraq. It is a recognized international human right for the colonized to respond to colonial imposition through any measures of their choosing, including "armed struggle". Thus, the Fallujah lynchings are justified by the countless murders and abuses of the colonial occupiers. It does not have to make rational sense to us, in the West, who are horrified by the "savagery" of the Fallujah residents. It only matters that the Fallujah people are so angry about the American presence in Iraq that they will lynch Americans wherever they see them. That is really the issue at hand, for if it is true that the Iraqi people are so angry at Americans, than the war for "minds and hearts" is over, and the occupation an utter failure.

At this moment, only one rational course remains: for the Americans to withdraw their forces from Iraq. If they stay, only more resistance violence and American "overwhelming" counter-violence will characterize the future of Iraq, a development which will continue to legitimize the Iraqi rebellion and further sink the United States' reputation in the quagmire of colonial clashes. It is only a matter of time: do we give up now, or give up later, with further degradation of our reputation. The only way to "win" would be to "level towns" and commit genocide on the Iraqis, a course of action that is not open to us, as a "civilized" nation. That being our choice of action, it's a no-brainer. Given the amount of Iraqis, it is a virtual impossibility to "win" this insurgency. The Americans should concede defeat and exit Iraq. There is no way to win, and the faster they realize this fact, the faster we can begin a process of national reflection over the profoundly irresponsible, illegal, murderous, and incompetent decision of invading another sovereign country under false pretenses.

Gonzalez is a Doctoral Candidate in Comparative Politics at the University of Massachusetts