"We're gonna smash their heads in 'coz they ain't got nothing in em": The Epistemology of Violence

Huma Ibrahim (Long Island University, USA)

Fanon was the first one to talk about the violence of colonization and the equal amount of violence that was required in order to bring about neocolonialism. In this paper I want to examine in part the morality of violence while discussing the enormous effort that Nuruddin Farah makes to understand the pervasive, relentless violence which is endemic to Somalia and for the purposes of my analysis beyond Somalia. In these times, which can only be said sarcastically, violence seems to stem from the very act of living, the very act of surviving and the very act of governing one's autonomy as an individual or as a group. I deliberately use group instead of nation for as we know current nations often contain many groups or classes which can be and frequently are at odds with one another. I believe that questions of generalized violence whether it is from the initiator or the initiated have to be addressed in the context and milieu of postcolonial studies which don't seem to want to become too post in too much of a hurry. I only mean to be facetious to a degree since the violence which is localized and etched into the geographies of debate between the metro poles and the post colonies seems to intensify rather than abbreviate animosities between peoples. But as we all know the issues of violence have taken a fundamental turn in South Africa as well as in Somalia. In my paper I want to theorize about what this violence means to the post colonial world in general.

In this paper, I don't want to be accused of simplifying the answer that any intelligent human being can make to the phenomenon of "postcolonial" violence but rather to go where Farah has been in terms of finding a compassionate "answer" and future out of the violence that his country imposes on its people through clan warfare and other sociocultural and economic phenomenon which are common in the world today.

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference

Last modified: 7 May 2001