Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Colonizer and the Colonized by Albert Memmi

The Colonizer and the Colonized by Albert Memmi. Original 57, this ed 65, afterword 91

“The Amercn ed is dedicated to the Amern Negro, also colonized”

Preface (’65)
Viii-memmi is Tunisian; xii—“privilege is at the heart of the colonial relationship—and privilege is undoubtably ecoc…the ecoc aspect of colonialism is fundamental”—book was originally criticized “for not having constructed my portraits entirely around ecoc structure”
-“However, colonial privilege is not solely ecoc”, the colonized’s “daily humiliation…his objective subjugation, r not merely ecoc. Even the poorer colonizer thot himself to b—and actually was—superiro to the colonized. This too was part of colonial privilege”
xiii-says he himself was a colonizer too. Not muslim (xiv) , jews idfied more w. colonizers in attitudes and customs even tho they were native to Tunisia. “His priveleges were laughable, but they were enough to make him proud and to make him hope that he was not part of the mass of Moslems which constituted the base of the pyramid”; they took up arms w/ Fr. In Algiers; said he like the “colonizer[s] of good will” but they were powerless
xv-and he couldn’t just take the myths of the colonized either, like that Eurpns r fundamentally bad
xvi-“…I was a sort of half-breed of colonization, understanding everyone b/c I belonged completely to no one”
xvii-“Oppression is the greatest calamity of humanity. It diverts and pollutes the best energies of man—of oppressed and oppressor alike”
“introduction” by Sartre
xxi—pts out “northerner” only knows about blacks and slavery thru “southerner’s” /colonizer’s words

xxiii-the ecoy of colony: sell cheap, buy high. Cheap labor—so must have competition, so need high birth rate—so standard of living falls, malnutrition (xxiv)

xxvi-colonizers have absolved themselves of any wrongdoing by idfying more and more w/ colonialist system—it dehumanizes them

xxvii-colonial system must stay or it will b reuin for ecoc system—if they assimilate or r all killed, prices will rise
-there is a contradiction in the system, colonizer treats colonized like a dog, but to give him orders he must first think of him as a man

3-the common idea of the colonizer is of the “righteous pioneer”, “laboring selflessly for mankind, attending the sick, and spreading culture to the nonliterate”
-tho now all historians know the ecoc motives of colonizing—so other missions r “no longer tenable”

4-avg ppl went to colonies b/c better pay, cheaper, rapid careers, cheaper production costs—even if he says its for adventure
5-and they don’t go back cuz it would cut their standard of living in half

10-there is no such thing as a eurpn living in a colony who is equal (and sees himself as =) to colonized, all colonizers have more privilege, tho some r exploited too (the “small colonizer”)
12-law is more lenient for him, less red tape from govt help, job test will b in his lang, better treatment in school, their ideas r more respected—even by colonized
13-colony follows his rel, holidays, flag, fashion—(14) have “less insecurity against total misery and illness”

16-“the recentlty assimilated place themselves in a considerably superior position to the avg colonizer. They push a colonial mentality to excess, display proud disdain for the colonized and continually show off their borrowed rank, which often belies a vulgar brutality and avidity. Still too impressed by their priveleges, they avor them and defend them w/ fear and harshness; and when colonization is imperiled, they provide it w/ its most dynamic defenders, its shock troops, and sometimes its instigators”
-“The representatives of the authorities, cadres, plicemen, etc., recruited from among the colonized, form a category fo the colonized which attempts to excape from its poll and social condition. But in so doing, by choosing to place themselves in the colonizer’s service to protect his interests exlusivley, they end up by adopting his ideology, even w/ regard to their own values and their own lives”

19-some colonizers refuse their position so they r not colonialists
20-tho, if he stays, he still “benefits from tehse priveleges which he half-heartedly denounces”
21-in colonies, romanticism is looked at as a serious danger—seen as traitor; (22) say only legit option is to adopt and b adopted by colonized, but says this is so rare it’s theoretical
24-but in that rare case, b/c he is still alien to the colonized’s culture, he thinks they r backward, that they’ll catch up if they had freedom
26-“to live w/out anguish; one must live in detachment from oneself and the world…It is not difficult to do this as it only reqs spontaneaous actions and mental attitudes. It would b as absurd to demand that the colonizer b attuned to the life of the colonized, as it would b to ask left-wing intellectuals to ape laborers. These intellectuals, having insisted on dressing sloppily, wearing shirts for days on end, and wlking in hobnailed shoes, soon realized the stupidigy of their pose, and in this case the lang, cuisine and basic customs were the same”

27-and “excessive romanticizing of the diffcs must b avoided”

30-the colonizer leftist has diff poll views than colonized, he condemns terrorism, explains it as just fringe groups or crazies—says violence done to him still doesn’t justify terrorism

32-says this is a constructed myth (that terrorists r extreme aberrations)
-he also ?s their ture, esp if their liberty is for a nondemocratic state, (33) he rtlzes it saying they will b democratic in future after all is settled
34-there’s event eh chance that they would reject leftism in their new govt
35-these hesitations make him suspect in the eyes of the colonized and the left wind at home
39-faced w/ these contradictions, his view “collapses”. This is an “impossible historical situation”; implacable—he can never b a colonized person
43-he must either leave or live a life in silence and compromise

46-the colonialist (whether native or immigrant) “justifies everything”, “pretends to have seen nothing of poverty and injustice which r rt. Under his nose”
47-their prestige gives even previously modest ones “such inordinate self-confidence that it makes them dizzy” and defend the system aggressively

48-says usu the best leave, only mediocre men remain
49-they have no knowledge of history and r bad politicians and technocrats
51-and b/c they rely on this rigged system for their status, they perpetuate it

-this situ does not give them peace of mind so they go to preat lengths to deter it: (52) falsify history, rewrite laws, exaggerating merits and colonized’s demerits
53-so the more down trodden the colonized is, the more this confirms and establishes his triumph—like Nero over Britannicus (the “Nero complex”)
-he therefore desires to eliminate the colonized, (54) but that would mean eliminating himself
55-and by his media (newspaper) colonized come to believe it too
56-ppl back in home country know its wrong, but kinda envy him
57-says deep down tho the colonizer scarcely believes his own innocence
59-uses ostentation to make others believe it, (60) and romanticizes homeland too, (62) tho when there’s talk of poll changes he wants succession, conservative polly

63-colonialism is a form of fascism—oppression
65-justifies to criticism by speaking of harsh conditions he endures
-he is diff from home country ppl and doesn not feel a part of them
68-he characterizes landscape as bad and refuses to b a citizen, as in one of the avg ppl
69- and b/c he’s only there temporarily, he does not make long term city planning invsetsments, and making it like home would b contradictory anyways

70-he “likes neither theory nor theorists. He who knows that he is in a bad ideological or ethical position genlly boasts of being a man of action, one who draws his lessons from exprc”—he can’t debate—so his racism is not doctrinal

72-coloniaists never really promoted relus conversion and churches even supported colonieng, tho now they r attacking it
-they had given churches “land, subsidies and adequate place for it role in the colony” for its support

74-racism penetrates psychiatry and he even says colonized has a bad “spirit” (75)
75-and seals it by saying it’s nat law
76-w/ his walth, he could even be generous—making him feel “paternalistic”, calls oppressive roles “gifts”, not “duties”—if he said duties, that would mean colonized had rts
79-stereotypes of the colonized: very common is laziness, it exalts the colonizer and humbles the colonized, implying that “employing the colonized is not very profitable, thereby authorizing his unreasonable wages”
81-“one can wonder if their ourput is mediocre, whether malnutrition, low wages, a closed future, a ridiculous conception of a role in society, does not make the colonized uninterested in his work” But this is directed at all colonized, even pros who work same hours as colonialists
-so since it’s not objective, it must b inherent in colonized

-same things for other seterotypes: weak, (82) which then reqs protection; wicked, thievish, evil, sadistic—legitmizes policing; irresponsible; ineptitude for science, progress; likes being poor; ingratitude
83-thigns even contradict ea other so all bases r covered (eg he has few desires but is gluttonous)
85-colonized is depersonalized and enver characterized as indv, but as a group
88-there is a partial truth here, the adherence of colonized to coloniztn—but only as a result, not a cause of coloniztn

92-the colonized, having been removed from history, forgot how toparticipate in it

99-b/c adolescents know a revolt wont work, they go back to tradl ways, centered on fam (100) missionaries say this is common to nonXn resl
101-colonization rarely cause excessive relus zeal—all these b/c having a complete social life is impossible

102-b/c he has no history, “he draws less and less form his past”

104-buildings and streets r renamed by colonizer
105-he is only tot eurpn history so (106) “school creates a permanent duality in him”—tho very few actually got the chance to go to school
109-and sice colonized r illiterate (and tradl scholars are ridiculed), writrs must write in eupn langs—keeping history lost

115-and instittnl insufficiencies keep the artisans from dvlpng their crafts

120-the colonial system is unstable and the colonized will one day overthrow it in 2 ways: 1) wanting to b white (seen as superiror), assimilate, (121) idealizing it, mixed marriages, (123) but this can never b full b/c it rejects him—(127) but assimilation and colonization r contradictory so 2)revolt, (129) tho colonized uses colonizer’s “techniques of thot and his methods of combat”

132-so the colonized becomes proud of his diffcs, even, after rejecting rel for secularity, takes it up again for the group solidarity, (133) tho he is weary that other colonized will use rel for other reasons
134-goes back to old lang, but most importantly he uses “words of love and tenderness, anger and indignation, words which the potter uses when talking to his pots, and the shoe maker to his soles”, eduation comes later
136-these colonized leaders have to imitate colonizer—that’s why they often have mixed marriages
-he is also faced w/ constradiction that to define self as diff, to take up colonizer’s dichotomy, is to take up negative stereotypes too (saying we don’t use technology, etc)
-and realizes that rejecting colonizer’s instittns and uses less dvlpd, funded colonized instittns
139-and he is self conscious of these contrasts and seeing them as criticizable, acts out violently to b heard, hostilely if ?d
140-he almost never succeeds in corresponding w/ himself; (141) he will only do so after revolt, after colonization

145-says no one before has shown the “pattern and genesis of ea role”—that’s what this is, not a remedy for the situ

151-says for complete liberation, he must end deficiencies of group
152-implies that he must have universal values and free coice—those free him, tho he may express it in ntlsm
-must not b only in rel, tho he can still have it
-“he must cease defining himself thru the cats of the colonizers”
-“cultural and technical acquirements belong to all ppls. Science is neither w. nor e., any more than it is bourgeois or proletarian. Tehre r only two ways of pouring concrete—the rt way and the wrong way”

-“I believe neither in metaphysical essence nor psychological essence”, (153) “one can describe the colonized at present…If he ceases to b colonized—he will become smthing else…But perhaps at that time ther will b fewer diffcs btwn an Algerian and a Marsillais than btwn an Algerian and a Lebanese. Having reconquered all his dimenstions, the former colonized will have become a man like any other. There will b the ups and downs of all men to b sure, but at least he will b a whole and free man”

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