Mentality of the Colonized:
Why Fallujah's lynching occurred
By Rene L. Gonzalez
04 April, 2004
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",
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.
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
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
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
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