The Wretched of the Earth Themes

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Colonialism as a Disease Vector

Fanon makes the compelling (and then-shocking) case that colonialism is an unhealthy condition for the Algerian because it deprives him of not only economic and social security, education, and a chance at a better life, but more fundamentally because it robs him of his basic humanity. Colonialism as a form of institutionalized violence generates psychiatric illnesses that stem from a complete devaluation of the self, accompanied by various phobias and extreme anxiety states that grow out of violence. In the last chapter, he presents a number of cases of mental disorder directly attributable to colonialism or to the war for independence. A central issue in these psychiatric casualties is the loss of self, of a valid human identity whether through the systematic depersonalization that strips citizens of their humanity each day in a thousand small ways, or through the horrors of torture. Many of...

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This section contains 714 words
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