“Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense” is based upon the book The Wretched of the Earth: A Negro Psychoanalyst’s Study of the Problems of Racism & Colonialism in the World Today by Frantz Fanon. Frantz Omar Fanon was born July 20, 1925 in Fort-de-France, Martinique. He was a West Indian psychoanalyst and social philosopher. He was raised and nurtured in the French Empire as a man of privilege. However, he quickly learned that his privilege meant nothing with his own people and definitely not with those colonizing his country. Fanon later became a resident of the Bethesda, MD before he died in 1961.
While attending to the needs of the soldiers of the Free French Army during World War II, Fanon begin to discover the effects that colonial violence had on the human spirit. He began his study of the effects colonial violence had on men, women and eventually the entire nation. His study, while intense, attempts to prove that violence was a necessary precursor for decolonization.
Goran Hugo Olsson, the director, takes us into the recesses of colonialism and the horrid effects it had on the people. African people were stripped of their native language, culture, social and political birthrights. In some cases, it was done by people who looked just like them. One of the more poignant moments in the film for me was when an interviewer was talking with a Caucasian man and this man described the native people of the country as “terrorists.” While he owned (took) land and developed it (with the help of the native people), he viewed them as “terrorists.” This was due to their uprising and attempting to decolonize their nation. He went on to describe a young man who was cleaning his mother’s car and how that young man told his mother, “Ms., one day I’m going to drive a car like this!” His mother said, “I will burn that car before I let you drive it!” The interviewee just went on about how the ‘“terrorists” all had cars and were taking over!’
The sense of entitlement that the colonials had in a country that they did not build was, once again, mind boggling. Without giving too much more of the movie away, it is a must see movie! Fanon was to colonialism what W.E.B. Dubois was to racism. Two dynamic men fighting similar causes across the globe. Olsson used awesome narration, done by Ms. Lauryn Hill, powerful interviews, and images to convey what Fanon witnessed first-hand. This movie makes no attempt to pacify the atrocities of colonialism. In fact, it does the opposite, it peels away the layers and gets to the heart of what happens to a people when colonization occurs.