ARAB UPRISINGS AND FANON’S CONCEPT OF EMANCIPATION: A CRITICAL EVALUATION

Author: Awiaka Cletus Toochukwu
Department: Philosophy
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Arab uprisings are the series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa. It is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world which was ignited by the first protests that occurred in Tunisia on December, 2010 following Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation. Factors such as dictatorship or absolute monarchy, human rights violations, government corruption, economic decline, unemployment, abject poverty and large educated but dissatisfied youth within the population are the core causes of the uprisings. The recent uprisings that have swept through North Africa and the Middle East not only recall those heroic struggles for independence that swept through Algeria and the rest of the colonized world in the past, they also attest to the visionary power of Fanon’s concept of emancipation. Fanon criticized dictatorship and warned against the excesses of power; he foresaw the role of Western powers in propping up corruption in nations; he was insightful in recognizing the critical role of the common people in emancipation. Above all, he advocated for violence in emancipation process since the oppression and subjugation of another is a violent act. And to counter such violent act, one needs stronger and higher violent act since the oppressor cannot easily let go without fighting. But this raises some paramount questions: is violence the only means for emancipation? Can dialogue actualize that which violence can also actualize? If there can be other means apart from using violence, how justifiable is the use of violence? At what point can violence be said to be indispensable in attaining liberation? And what is the limit of such violence? It is in line with the recent happenings that this thesis exposes Fanon’s violence in attempt to do a comparative study and a critical evaluation of Arab uprisings and Fanon’s concept of emancipation using the method of hermeneutics. The thesis exposes the state of Arab world before the uprising and elevates democracy as the solution to the uprising.

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