Ivan Krastev on Postcolonialism - Dictionary of Arguments
Krastev I 44
Post-Colonialism/Krastev: In the heyday of de-colonization, spokesmen for former Western colonies argued that refusing to imitate the West was a key to achieving or retrieving national dignity. Hostility to the imitation of colonial masters was part of the armed liberation struggle aimed at driving the foreigners out of their lands. In The Wretched of the Earth, French-Caribbean philosopher and revolutionary Frantz Fanon wrote of Africa’s ‘nauseating mimicry’ of the West and said that an African imitator of Europe was bound to become ‘an obscene caricature’.(1)
Krastev: No counterpart to Frantz Fanon appeared in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe in the first two decades after the fall of the Wall. On the contrary, political elites in the region were almost universally enthusiastic about the imitation of West European and American ‘normality’. >Utopia/Krastev, >Emigration/Krastev.
Eastern Europe/post-communist era: While the velvet revolutions of 1989 represented anti-colonial repudiations of Soviet domination, they were simultaneously pro-colonial with regard to the West. This is why their organizers and leaders could be classified as aspiring ‘converts’ as opposed to cynical ‘simulators’ like the Russians. At the beginning, as a result, no important voices in the region were crying out against the heinous crime of copying Western forms and norms. And when Orbán and Kaczyński attacked Western liberalism, they did so while claiming the mantle of Europeanness for themselves, describing Central Europe not only as the true Europe but as Europe’s last line of defence. Fanon would have never said anything of the kind about France’s former colonies in Africa.
1. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Grove/Atlantic, 2007), p. 236._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
The Light that Failed: A Reckoning London 2019