Sunday, April 20, 2014

Psychological War

It's very interesting reading the different accounts of individuals affected by imperialism-induced war. Not that it can compare to the colonized country's state, but are there negative long-term effects to the colonizing country? Could one country's imperialism in one country be enough to shake the populous of its own? One French girl, who's father was a torturer, had psychological results due to the guilt and embarrassment she felt for her fathers actions--but she had some first hand experience herself. The population of effect peoples is probably too small to have enough weight in the home country.

It seems, based on Fanon's patient accounts, that the psychological effects of war and imperialism push and exhaust patients to look past the liberation of their cause and just hope for mental rest. How can a colonized nation paralyzed by war move past to achieve liberation?


  1. It seems to me that imperialism may be able to affect the populous of the colonizing country, but not nearly at the same level as the colonized country. I wouldn't be surprised if a person that is in a country that colonizes could be completely unaware of what their country is doing.

    For a colonized nation to move past the psychological effects it may simply take time. It is much easier for progress to be made over time than immediately. This isn't always the case, yet if a decent independent government can be begun in the post-war colonized country, then it could be a foundation for a functional country.

  2. I agree with what you're saying, Sam, about the colonizing country not even knowing what is happening in the colonized country. When people are oppressing other people, it is not like they are advertising exactly what is happening. It is understandable that the French girl Kyra mentioned had some kind of psychological breakdown from knowing what her father did, but that is because she had first hand experience. Citizens of countries that are colonizing other countries are most likely unaware of what their country is actually doing to another country. This, in some ways, reminds me of the Holocaust, because many people were unaware of exactly what was happening to their Jewish neighbors who were being taken away. The ones oppressing others can sugarcoat or hide what they are doing so that other people not directly involved could have no idea what is going on. I think that in order for their to be serious psychological effects on the citizens of colonizing countries, there would have to be some kind of direct connection to the atrocities that are happening in the colonized country like the French girl had with her father.

  3. Kristen, I really agree with what you're saying about the way colonizers mask their actions to those they are controlling. I feel like the psychological damages of nations that were colonized are so strong in a very humanistic way. As Fanon states, "Who am I in reality?" is what all colonized people are forced to ask themselves, and when you think about it, having confusion about such a core tenant of personal identity can be highly detrimental to one's mental stability. As for the french girl, it is the same feeling in a different way. She may not have actively forced indigenous people to question their identity or be controlled, but even being related to someone who performed such dehumanizing actions can make her question her own identity. As we all know, Imperialism and colonialism in its entirety goes against the equality of human nature to live free of control and form his/her own identity, but when violence and control come in the way of that, it is not surprising to have detrimental effects on the human state of mind.

    1. That's a good point, Rebecca. Being asked that question is detrimental to one's mental stability and it caused the colonized people to become traumatized. Colonial oppression causes the oppressed to develop mental symptoms and be placed in mental institutions for multiple reasons. We see that this colonization impacts both the colonizers and the colonized and causes deep mental problems in both parties.

  4. I found Fanon's concept of human "weight" to be particularly interesting and applicable here. He begins by discussing that under a colonial rule, words such as "gratitude, sincerity, and honor" are devoid of meaning (p. 220), for these types of decencies are lost when oppression and dehumanization are introduced, and are only restored of meaning when unity reestablishes itself. Fanon says that it is important to combat dehumanization by making the aggressor feel the "weight" of the oppressed, to reinforce one's humanity and let it be felt by the colonial rule which seeks to strip them of their humanity (p. 221). Dehumanization is not too strong of a word. A culture under colonization is psychologically affected as strongly as it is culturally displaced, for the rigidity of their culture is destroyed, leaving the people to question why they exist in said culture and why it is not strong enough to withstand cultural attack.


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