Discourse on Colonialism Paperback – Jan 1 2001
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CA(c)saire's essay stands as an important document in the development of third world consciousness--a process in which [he] played a prominent role. - "Library Journal"
About the Author
A celebrated poet, novelist, and philosopher, AIME CESAIRE is the author of several books, volumes of poetry and numerous plays, including Return to My Native Land, A Season in the Congo and an African version of Shakespeare's The Tempest.
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Cesaire's denounciation of the West (both Europe and the US) is based on two pillars - one is the Western deeply racist and violent attitude towards the then colonized world, and the second is Cesaire's Marxist leanings.He mentions the Soviet Union in one short sentence as an example of a positive society - how were people misled by Stalinist Russia was a mystery. But in the forward by Robin Kelly we learn that Cesaire quit the communist party and denounced Stalinism as early as 1956.
Cesaire's strongest point is that French attitudes towards Africa (half a century ago !) bear a close resemblence to German Nazi attitudes towards Jews and other "inferior" people.
The forward by Robin Kelly and the interview with Cesaire at the end add a lot of subtance to this powerful but short essay.
This book is highly recommended to people who appreciate Fanon, and all those who wish to learn the roots of anti colonial philosophy.
One final note: If you are wondering just what all the fuss is about, then this book is definately for you. Reading Cesaire will not only enlighten--it's one of those rare works that may even sensitize someone to injustice they may not care about, or may not even have noticed. In the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr., Susan Brownmiller and Richard Mohr; Cesaire's *Discourse on Colonialism* is an eye-opener. It is one of those rare books that has the real potential to make one a morally better person.
What is condemned here has also the epitome of U.S. policy and economic activity in the Third World for the last half century, so Americans should not think that this condemnation is about something other than many of the taken-for-granted policies of the American empire. The rhetorical tone of the book may ring as a bit dated to ears used to ignoring what goes on in minds and hearts not located in the First World, but the events of 9/11 may give them new relevance. One would hope so.
Historically this book was of great importance, and it deserves rereading today - especially in the U.S.
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