Tag: <span>Algeria</span>

Frantz Fanon Portraits of World Citizens.

Frantz Fanon: The New Humanism.

Featured Image: Frantz Fanon represent the FLN (National Liberation Front) and Algeria in the war of independence at the Pan African conference at the Palais de la Culture in Léopoldville, on August 27, 1960, in the former Belgian Congo, which has just conquered. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Frantz Fanon (1925-1961); whose birth anniversary we mark on 20 July; was a French psychologist, writer, and participant in the Algerian struggle for independence (1954-1962).

He was born in Martinique; then a French colony which now has the status of a Department of France.  The bulk of the population are of African descent; having been brought to the West Indies as slaves.  Although the basic culture is French; some in Martinique are interested in African culture; and as in Haiti, there are survivals of African religions; often incorporated into Roman Catholic rites.

In 1940 as France was being occupied by the German forces and a Right-Nationalist government was being created in the resort city of Vichy, sailors favorable to the Vichy government took over the island and created a narrow-nationalist, racist rule.  Fanon, then 17, escaped to the nearby British colony of Dominica, and from there joined the Free French troops led by General De Gaulle.  Fanon fought in North Africa and then in the liberation of France.

General Charles de Gaulle. By Office of War Information, Overseas Picture Division. [1] The image prefix (LC-USW3) at the Library of Congress image page matches that of pictures from the OWI collection (see prefix list here., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Black Skin, White Masks.

Once the war over, he received a scholarship to undertake medical and then psychiatry training in Lyon.  His doctoral thesis on racism as he had experienced it in the military and then during his medical studies was published in French in 1952 and is translated into English as Black Skin, White Masks.

In 1953, he was named to lead the Psychiatry Department of the Bida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria shortly before the November 1954 start of the war for independence in Algeria.  He treated both Algerian victims of torture as well as French soldiers traumatized by having to carry out torture.   He considered the struggle for independence as a just cause, and so in 1956 he resigned his position and left for Tunisia where the leadership of the independence movement was located.  As a good writer, having already published his thesis followed by a good number of articles in intellectual journals, he was made the editor of the Algerian independence newspaper.  There were a number of efforts by the French security services to kill him or to blow up the car in which he was riding.  Although wounded a number of times, he survived.

The Gold Coast.

In 1959, the British colony of the Gold Coast was granted independence and took the name of Ghana under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah.  Nkrumah was a pan-African, having participated in a number of pan-African congresses starting in the 1930s.  He viewed the independence of the Gold Coast as the first step toward the liberation of all colonies in Africa, to be followed by the creation of African unity in some sort of federation.  Ghana attracted a good number of activists of anti-colonial movements.  Fanon was sent to Ghana to be the Algerian Independence Movement (FLN) ambassador to Ghana and as the contact person toward other independence movements.

Portrait photograph of Kwame Nkrumah. By The National Archives UK – Flickr account, OGL v1.0OGL v1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Arise, Wretched of the Earth.

From his anti-colonial activity he wrote his best known study of colonialism, the mental health problems it caused, and the need for catharsis Les damnés de la terretranslated into English as The Wretched of the Earth.  The title comes from the first line of the widely-sung revolutionary song “L’Internationale”.  For French readers, there was no need to write the first word of the song which is “Arise”  Arise, you wretched of the Earth.  The meaning of the book in English would have been clearer had it been called Arise, Wretched of the Earth.

Frantz Fanon was very ill with leukemia, and Les damnés de la terre was written by dictation to his French-born wife that he had married during his medical studies.  He received in the hospital the first copies of his book three days before his death.  He had been taken for treatment to a leading hospital just outside Washington, DC by the C.I.A.  The role of the C.I.A. in support of, or just infiltrating for information, the Algerian independence movement is still not fully clear.  Frantz Fanon was buried in a town in Algeria then held by the independence forces.  The 1962 peace agreement with France granting independence followed shortly after his death.  Fanon is recalled warmly in Algeria for his part in the independence struggle.

The final four pages of Les damnés de la terre are a vital appeal for a new humanism and for a cosmopolitan world society based on the dignity of each person.  For Fanon, there is a need to overcome both resignation and oppression and to begin a new history of humanity.

Note.


Two useful biographies of Fanon in English are David Caute. Frantz Fanon (New York: Viking Press, 1970)   and Irene Gendzier Frantz Fanon. A Critical Study (New York: Pantheon Books, 1973).

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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nuclear weapon Appeals

Steps Toward Security in the Middle East.

Featured Image: Photo by Ilja Nedilko on Unsplash.

“The struggle against the nuclear weapon cult and threats it poses to international peace, security and development, like all struggles against belief systems which have outlived their times, is going to be long and arduous”   

K. Subrahmanyal. Nuclear Proliferation and Internationsal Securtiy.

 
    The U.N. Conference on the Establishlent of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction took place at the U.N. in New York, 29 November to 3 December 2021.
The Conference is open-ended – that is open to those States that wish to attend – with a mandate provided by General Assembly Resolution A/73/546 to continue meeting annually:
 

“until the confernce concludes the elaboration of a legally binding treaty establishing a Middle East Zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”

The first session was held 18-22 November 2019.

K. Subrahmanyam
 K. Subrahmanyam (2010). By MarcEduard, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
The process will not be easy in an area where armed conflicts exist and are undermining stablity. There are very real concerns concerning nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Regional conflicts could unleash a nuclear war through escalation of a conventional war, miscalculation or delibeate pre-emptive attack. This is the second time that the conference is held.  The 22 countries of the Arab League and Iran participated as did the U.K. and Russia.  Israel and the U.S.A. did not.  While the difficulties are real, the Conference provides opportunities for governments of the region to share perspectives, consider proposals and look at the institutional requirements to establish such a zone.
 
    While non-governmental organization representatives cannot participate as such in the Conference, a nuclear-weapon free zone is of vital interest to those organizations working on arms control, disarmament, and regional conflict resolution.
 
The Arab League
Emblem of the League of Arab States (2008). By Jeff Dahl, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
   
The idea of a Middle East nuclear-free zone was first put forth by a non-governmental organization, the Israeli Committee of the Denuclearization of the Middle East in April 1962.  Non-governmental organizations, often working closely with the United Nations disarmament secretariat, have played a role in the creation of regional nuclear-weapon free zones starting with the Treaty of the Tlatelolco for Latin America, after the dangers highlighted by the Cuban Missile Crisis.
 
As the “father” of the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco the Mexican Ambassador Alfonso Garcia Robles explained the concept of nuclear-weapon free zones as a step toward global disarmament:
 

“We should attempt to achieve a gradual broadening of the zones of the world from which  nuclear weapons are prohibited to a point where the territories of Powers which possess these terrible tools of mass destruction will become something like contaminated islets subjected to quarantine.”

Alfonso Garcia Robles
Alfonso Garcia Robles (1981). By Marcel Antonisse, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
    Non-governmental organizations have proposed that the following States be included in the Middle East process: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, the Palistinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen.  In looking at the list of potential members, we see that a nuclear-weapon free zone is not the only issue on the political agenda.  We also see that the possibilities of action for non-governmental organizations to work on security issues is not the same in each country.  There is deep mistrust and rivalries among many of these States.
 
    Thus, it is probably necessary for non-governmental organizations outside of the area to organize what are called Track II initiatives – a non-official way to discuss regional security issues and to provide policy advice to governments.  A first step is to identify opportunities,  areas of mutual interest, and then to make recommendations where progress can be made and where governmental diplomatic efforts could be made.  Civil society organizations can also reach out to youth in the Middle East who are interested in creating positive changes with in the region.
 
    A first opportunity to present proposals to government representatives will be the Review Conference on the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT Review) to be held at the U.N. in New York during this January 2022. Nuclear-weapon free zones as well as the needed confidence-building measures have provided an important focus of earlier NPT Reviews. 
 
The Association of World Citizens has stressed the importance of Nuclear-weapon Free Zones at earlier NPT Reviews and will do so again for the January 2022 Review.
 
 
  Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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