Quotes from The Wretched of the Earth

Frantz Fanon ·  320 pages

Rating: (13.3K votes)


“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“Everything can be explained to the people, on the single condition that you want them to understand.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anti-colonialism, indeed capitalism versus socialism, is already losing its importance. What matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity will have to address this question, no matter how devastating the consequences may be.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“And it is clear that in the colonial countries the peasants alone are revolutionary, for they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The starving peasant, outside the class system is the first among the exploited to discover that only violence pays. For him there is no compromise, no possible coming to terms; colonization and decolonization is simply a question of relative strength.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth



“The unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“They realize at last that change does not mean reform, that change does not mean improvement.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“Zombies, believe me, are more terrifying than colonists.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“The claim to a national culture in the past does not only rehabilitate that nation and serve as a justification for the hope of a future national culture. In the sphere of psycho-affective equilibrium it is responsible for an important change in the native. Perhaps we haven't sufficiently demonstrated that colonialism is not satisfied merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the native's brain of all form and content. By a kind of perverted logic, it turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures, and destroys it. This work of devaluing pre-colonial history takes on a dialectical significance today.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“Colinialism hardly ever exploits the whole of a country. It contents itself with bringing to light the natrual resources, which it extracts, and exports to meet the needs of the mother country's industries, thereby allowing certain sectors of the colony to become relatively rich. But the rest of the colony follows its path of under-development and poverty, or at all events sinks into it more deeply.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth



“Get this into your head: if violence were only a thing of the future, if exploitation and oppression never existed on earth, perhaps displays of nonviolence might relieve the conflict. But if the entire regime, even your nonviolent thoughts, is governed by a thousand-year old oppression, your passiveness serves no other purpose but to put you on the side of the oppressors.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“إن تصرُّف المثقف في هذه الفترة تصرُّف رجُل انتهازي رخيص، والحقُّ أن مناوراتِه لم تنقطع لحظة، والشعب لا يريد أن يُبعِدُه أو أن يُحرجه. فما يُريدُه الشعب هو أن يكون كل شيء مشتركـًا .. وجود ذلك الميل الغريب إلى التفاصيل لدى المثقف هو الذي سيؤجِّل انغماس المثقف في الموجة الشعبية العارمة. لا لأن الشعب عاجز عن التحليل، فهو يُحب أن تُشرَح له الأمور، هو يُحب أن يفهم مفاصل استدلال من الاستدلالات، يُحب أن يرى إلى أسن هو ذاهب. ولكن المثقف المُستعمَر، في أول اتصاله بالشعب، يُركِّز اهتمامه على التفاصيل الدقيقة، ويصل من ذلك إلى نسيان هدف الكفاح نفسُه، ألا وهو إلحاق الهزيمة بالاستعمار”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“The settler makes history and is conscious of making it. And because he constantly refers to the history of his mother country, he clearly indicates that he himself is the extension of that mother-country. Thus the history which he writes is not the history of the country which he plunders but the history of his own nation in regard to all that she skims off, all that she violates and starves.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“Taking the continent as a whole, this religious tension may be responsible for the revival of the commonest racial feeling. Africa is divided into Black and White, and the names that are substituted- Africa south of the Sahara, Africa north of the Sahara- do not manage to hide this latent racism. Here, it is affirmed that White Africa has a thousand-year-old tradition of culture; that she is Mediterranean, that she is a continuation of Europe and that she shares in Graeco-Latin civilization. Black Africa is looked on as a region that is inert, brutal, uncivilized - in a word, savage.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth



“A government or a party gets the people it deserves and sooner or later a people gets the government it deserves.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“The native must realize that colonialism never gives anything away for nothing.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“The missionaries find it opportune to remind the masses that long before the advent of European colonialism the great African empires were disrupted by the Arab invasion. There is no hesitation in saying that it was the Arab occupation which paved the way for European colonialism; Arab imperialism commonly spoken of, and the cultural imperialism of Islam is condemned.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness, and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“Once their rage explodes, they recover their lost coherence, they experience self-knowledge through reconstruction of themselves; from afar we see their war as the triumph of barbarity; but it proceeds on its own to gradually emancipate the fighter and progressively eliminates the colonial darkness inside and out. As soon as it begins it is merciless. Either one must remain terrified or become terrifying—which means surrendering to the dissociations of a fabricated life or conquering the unity of one’s native soil. When the peasants lay hands on a gun, the old myths fade, and one by one the taboos are overturned: a fighter’s weapon is his humanity. For in the first phase of the revolt killing is a necessity: killing a European is killing two birds with one stone, eliminating in one go oppressor and oppressed: leaving one man dead and the other man free;”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth



“In the colonial countries, on the contrary, the policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him by means of rifle butts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“How come he cannot recognize his own cruelty now turned against him? How come he can't see his own savagery as a colonist in the savagery of these oppressed peasants who have absorbed it through every pore and for which they can find no cure? The answer is simple: this arrogant individual, whose power of authority and fear of losing it has gone to his head, has difficulty remembering he was once a man; he thinks he is a whip or a gun; he is convinced that the domestication of the "inferior races" is obtained by governing their reflexes. He disregards the human memory, the indelible reminders; and then, above all, there is this that perhaps he never know: we only become what we are by radically negating deep down what others have done to us.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“In the colonial context the settler only ends his work of breaking in the native when the latter admits loudly and intelligibly the supremacy of the white man's values.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“The Africans and the underdeveloped peoples, contrary to what is commonly believed, are quick to build a social and political consciousness. The danger is that very often they reach the stage of social consciousness before reaching the national phase. In this case the underdeveloped countries’ violent calls for social justice are combined, paradoxically enough, with an often primitive tribalism. The underdeveloped peoples behave like a starving population—which means that the days of those who treat Africa as their playground are strictly numbered. In other words, their power cannot last forever. A bourgeoisie that has only nationalism to feed the people fails in its mission and inevitably gets tangled up in a series of trials and tribulations. If nationalism is not explained, enriched, and deepened, if it does not very quickly turn into a social and political consciousness, into humanism, then it leads to a dead end. A bourgeois leadership of the underdeveloped countries confines the national consciousness to a sterile formalism. Only the massive commitment by men and women to judicious and productive tasks gives form and substance to this consciousness.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“إن لجوءك إلى لُغة تكنيكيَّة معناه أنّك قرَّرتَ أن تَعُدَّ الجماهير جاهلة”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth



“إن رؤساء الحكومات هم الخونة الحقيقيون”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“Everything can be explained to the people, on the single condition that you really want them to understand.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“It is true that if care is taken to use only a language that it's understood by graduates in law and economics, you can easily prove that the masses have to be managed from above.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“Have the courage to read this book, for in the first place it will make you ashamed, and shame, as Marx said, is a revolutionary sentiment.”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth


“ليس يكفي أن تُؤلِّف أغنيَّة ثوريَّة حتى تُشارِك في الثَّورة الأفريقيَّة، وإنَّما ينبغي أن تصنع هذه الثَّورة، ثم تأتي الأغاني من تلقاء ذاتها.”
أحمد سيكوتوري”
― Frantz Fanon, quote from The Wretched of the Earth



About the author

Frantz Fanon
Born place: in Martinique
Born date July 20, 1924
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