Ghadafi, Frantz Fanon and Marcus Garvey: Visions for Africa

Posted on March 6, 2011


Africa…Africa: beautiful, motherland, hungry, educated, walking, exploited, hurt, neglected, diverse. There have been many visions for Africa over the past six centuries and if one were to pop in Nas and Damian Marley‘s latest album, one may hear and listen to so many things said and told about a continent pillaged over and over again to this very second.

There is no denying the reality. The reality that I am typing this piece and that as you are reading this, a child in Africa has already died of either hunger, polio, AIDS or rape and violence. Africa is continent in which one may spot the child soldier clad in torn garments, cigarette in mouth not knowing what his/her tomorrow will bring let alone know what it will bring.

As a hip-hop political activist, there is no denying  the fact that I have listened to x amount of hip-hop albums, mixtapes and compilations that many positions on Africa and the plight of Africa, past, future and present. Moreover, I have collaborated and worked with emcees and producers alike who have as diverse points of view on a continent that is diverse as its peoples, colours, customs and tribes.

Pan-Africanism, we have all heard of it or read of it. Many know of its story and ideology. In the wake of Libya’s chaos, the aspect of Muamar Ghadafi’s history and doings over the past four decades has once again been brought to the world’s attention in which his practices and lack thereof are being microscopically scrutinized.

Studying in Egypt (by mentioning Egypt, please strongly take into account that it is Africa yet it is simultaneously the Arab world) as a boy, I was given Gadhafi’s Green Book. Skimming through the tiny pocket-sized manual’s leaves, I was unable to decipher what exactly the book was about mainly due to the fact that I was only eight years old dealing with a roughly translated/transliterated version of it.

Two years later, at the age of ten, I gave Gadhafi’s Green Book another shot. There was no avail, I was too young to understand what was going on and so the book went back up in bedroom shelf, the topmost shelf to be exact due to the fact that it wouldnt be at eye level. In essence, I figured that when I would grow older and get taller, it would be at my new-found eye level in which I’d take it from my shelf and give it another read. To this day I never really came around doing this.

Where is Africa Going?

Mandela brought so much to the struggle of South Africa and was beyond well deserving of a Noble Prize. In essence, he may very well be the modern day father of Africa, undeniably. The struggle of indigenous peoples with the nefarious ideals and constructs of colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism and apartheid still remain eminent to this very day. It may seem as if we, as human collective have yet to learn from lessons of the past. Despite such givens, it may just very well be that demonic enterprises of the likes of the Illuminatti have acquainted themselves with an other agenda with another blueprint for Africa and the greater world as a whole. Indeed, these designs are only more and more vivid as time lapses.

Indeed, resistance is a significant approach to what numerous thinkers have done when it came to the question of the indigenous plight and struggle. If resistance was key, then it was more about what genre of resistance. The question arises if it was Mandela’s vision or was it the vision and approach of Frantz Fanon?

History has taught us that fighting fire with fire was not the ideal solution to conflict resolution and the creation of sustainable communities. As a hip-hop artist, the Mickey Boston and agenda is one of intellect, intelligentsia, patience, wisdom, knowledge and a whole lot of balls, hence the mantra: “Mic-Key ‘Big Brosky’ Bidallz.”

In order to be a Big Brosky, one does not just eat all the steak, no not just the whole nine yards of 8oz or 16oz, it is more than just a swagger and a show, it is an intifada in itself. It is the Microphone Intifada. Conscious hip-hop in itself has chronicled history in its verses and bars and so did so many different artists from Bob Marley to Heron to Bono and the list goes on. Non-violence is the approach. Non-violence is the solution and the path for all peoples seeking self-determination and autonomy.

All individuals desire freedom, liberty, civil liberties, rights, clean water, food and stability. This is something fundamental within the greater human circa. Africa must go in the direction of non-violence and the clever and intellectual adoption of this is an unstoppable phenomena that only God himself can bring to cessation and not despotic governments, Western democracies that channel and fund these imposed dictators and multinational corporations that attempt to remove indigenous peoples from the rights to their very own human and natural resources.

Non-Violence: The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Approach.

It is rather burdensome and tedious to find these approaches to Africa if one is looking into Frantz Fanon’s writings. After completing my Master’s I had moved towards doctoral studies and while doing so, befriended a Tunisian national in Grad school. Our friendship as colleagues blossomed in which we bonded over exchanges concerning Fanon’s writings. Fanon himself who wrote in Tunisia had many approaches to the problem of Africa and the establishing of its place in the world in the wake of centuries of brutal colonial and imperial rule at the hands of the Europeans.

Writing is a manifestation of resistance, just ask Kanafani (and do please read my article entitled “Ghassam Kanafani, Writing as Resistance and Hip-hop”) like so many others who paid the ultimate price for it and undeniably the pen is mightier than the sword while the ink shed may bring quintessential solutions in a world of facade and political bureaucracy.

Fanon’s views on the ideal of the psychology of the oppressed–in which he delved  into the midset of oppressed and colonized peoples–which he routinely studied and meticulously probed into while both in France and in North Africa is one notable aspect of his life. This is highly significant in regards to an individual residing both in the landscape of the colonizer as well as the colonized just across in North Africa. Here the mother colonial mistress is pivoted against the colonized child in the form of North African states of Algeria and Tunisia. Indeed, Fanon faced his very own forms of racial discrimination and sought justice while trying bring an understanding to the world he was tangled in. Non-violence is the proposed solution and Fanon’s approach to solving Africa’s problems by means of violence is undoubtedly flawed.

One cannot take away his prolific stance when it came to notion of analyzing the aspect of social class formations in colonial societies while simultaneously attempting to gage the response of these very classes to the developing revolutionary struggle against imperialism and for the construction of a socialist society. Fanon, unlike Gadhafi is a studied thinker and psychologist. Ghadafi himself may simply need both a psychiatrist and psychologist. Undeniably both Fanon were wrong about using violence, it is just that one was even more wrong than the other. It is rather difficult to know what exactly has Ghadafi studied however, somehow he managed to transform himself into “Mr. Africa” without having anyone significant contest that. Moreover, it may be that nobody really wanted to argue and debate a man who was laden with bizarre approaches to the world let alone Africa.


Shakira's World Cup song in South Africa probably did more than some of the radical writings of previous thinkers.

Fanon does have a lasting impact on contemporary African American thinkers to this very day however, it is very difficult to dub the same for Ghadafi. While his writings may be attributed to having an impact on continuing political movements that have arose such as the African American movement of the 1960s and 1970s, should be extended into the current period in examining the contemporary U.S. occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan, the current political upheavals in North Africa related to the notion of lost civil liberties while despotic regimes are placed and funded into power by both the United StaTes, Britain and of course, Israel.

Fanon and Ghadafi: Using Violence.

One need not to be a Gandhi groupie to know that violence and its applications are not a solution to curbing and containing colonialism and imperialism. While Ghadafi was born in Libya to a very traditional family in the heyday of Italian colonialism, Frantz Fanon was born in the heyday of French colonialism in Algeria, others conflict it with Martinique or maybe it was the other way around?  The readership can look this up. He received a western education in Lyons, France and was to take up service as a psychiatrist in Algeria where he came into none other than direct contact with the viciousness of colonialism against Africans in Algeria. From here, the observation of such brutality impacted the young man to the extent of  resignation and suddenly joining the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algeria.

Fanon’s professional experience as a psychiatrist may have been what prompted his radicalism. He attributed a collective consciousness with a diagnosed observation that he dubbed as “the psychiatric disorders emanating from colonialism.” Undeniably the young man was intellectually creative in his approach to the aspect of the colonizer/colonized dyad. He distinguished himself from his contemporaries by means of adopting a gifted ability to merge theory and practice into the anti-colonial struggle. Ghadafi’s Green Book is an attempt to this however, the socialism he has attempted to sell to his fellow African political contemporaries is one blended with the teachings of Islam. Indeed an Islamic approach is sustainable however, the question arises, what type of Islam as Ghadafi has had some very odd approaches to the religion over the past four decades.

In Tunis, Fanon worked in the press services of the FLN where he became one of the editors of al-Moudjahid, the underground newspaper of the FLN. He later took up service in Accra – Ghana where he helped to create a “Third Base” in Mali. The thesis of violence is at the core of Fanon’s his widely studied The Wretched of the Earth, revered universally as the “bible of decolonization.” The ideals of violence and its application are also found in his Black skin White MasksA Dying Colonialism and Toward the African Revolution. Before anyone can suddenly condemn Fanon, one must always comprehend that any form or fashion of resistance is precursed by an oppression, in other words: there is no resistance without oppression’s initial presence and establishment. The Europeans took slaves, degraded peoples of colour, exploited their lands and raped and pillaged their lands, villages and women. Here one must first critically condemn these acts before Fanon and Gadhafi (and as repetitiously aforementioned, these two are also in the wrong as well).

FLN terrorism

To effectively summarize, Fanon was very unequivocal in his call for Africans to counter colonial violence with what he called “greater violence.” This  in itself may be derived from his time invested in North Africa and mayhaps his encounters and interactions with  tribalism and tribal justice. Moreover, this was also due in part ofh is view, “no diplomacy, no political genius, no skill” can cope with colonialism except “force.” In the wake of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya in 2011, the stick and rule via the stick is an archaic practice. The stick will not heed the loyalty of the masses and any Machiavellian can agree to that. Fanon spoke of colonialism in very bitter terms. “Colonialism is not a thinking machine,” he held, “nor a body endowed with reasoning faculties. It is violence in its natural state and will only yield when confronted with greater violence.”

Though he passed away in 1961, before the liberation struggle had reached full gear, Fanon foresaw Africa several decades ahead. He understood that independence for much of Africa would simply entail the replacing of one “species” of men by another “species” of men. Nothing has been truer of contemporary Africa. Leadership in Africa has become a new form of oppression of Africans by Africans with the complicity of the same forces Fanon fought against – colonialism or neo-colonialism as it has come to be known. Fanon saw the hand of colonialism in fomenting tribal chaos in Africa. “Colonialism does not simply state the existence of tribes,” Fanon said, “It also reinforces it and separates them … colonialism is separatist and regionalist.” This particular prediction has proven to be as accurate as a biblical prophecy. Since Fanon’s time, Africa has not known peace. This continent has played host to different forms of genocide, some accepted (Rwanda) and others disputed (Darfur).

Enter Marcus Garvey.

Before any rhetoric on Garveyism is to even begin one must delve into Marcus Garvey’s history, which such a different lived experience from both Ghadaffi and Fanon. This article will be continued in “Ghadafi and Garvey: Pan-Africanism in 2011.”