Found this draft from last year. Not sure why I never published it.
Yes, I can now say that I’ve finally actually read him. So far I’ve only read Toward the African Revolution, but intend to read A Dying Colonialism or Black Skin, White Masks eventually, although I’m looking forward to it much less than I was.
It’s not that Fanon is a bad writer; he’s often compelling, in no small part because his writing has the rhythm of poetry. Many of his essays include such sections. One of my favorites is “Letter to a Frenchman,” the entirety of which consists of drumbeat lines such as these:
Remember Setif! Do you want another Setif?
They will, but we won’t.
All this you told me, laughing.
But your wife wasn’t laughing.
And behind your laugh I saw.
I saw your essential ignorance of this country and its ways.
I’ll tell you what I mean.
And you mingling with those:
Who have never shaken hands with an Arab.
Never drunk coffee.
Never exchanged commonplaces about the weather with an Arab.
By your side the Arabs.
Pushed aside the Arabs.
Confined the Arabs.
Native town crushed.
Town of sleeping natives.
Nothing ever happens among the Arabs.
All this leprosy on your body.
No matter your feelings on his politics, at some level his prose grabs hold.