The Spirit of Bandung is marked by its idealism, a state of mind few associate with the revolutionary Martinican physician and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, who is perhaps best known for Les damnés de la terre, in particular its opening chapter on violence. And yet, Fanon’s work, too, is marked by a keen sense of hope as he urges himself and his readers, “[to] make a new start, develop a new way of thinking, and endeavor to create a new man.” As a clinician and philosopher who combined phenomenology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis in his work, Fanon draws our attention to the importance of healing the physical, affective, and epistemological wounds of anti-black racism by attending to the social relations that produce them. This paper takes as a point of departure Fanon’s “Letter to the Resident Minister (1956),” in which he resigns from his post as Médecin-Chef de service at the Psychiatric Hospital of Blida-Joineville in war-torn Algeria. More than a gesture, I argue that Fanon’s active withdrawal as a representative of French colonialism enabled Fanon to write Wretched of the Earth and raises the question of what role hopeful resignation can have in achieving decolonial healing.
In this article I attempt to reconcile one of the most influential diplomatic episodes of Third World liberation – Bandung – with one of the most influential thinkers of said liberation – Frantz Fanon. I argue that this reconciliation can be usefully achieved by bringing to the fore the impact of the Ethiopia/Italy conflict (1935–1941) on both Fanon’s thought and the political trajectories of various individuals and movements that ultimately met at Bandung. Specifically, I trace how anti-colonial anti-fascism, an intellectual-activist position which emerged in response to Mussolini’s fascist invasion of Ethiopia, prefigured and prepared the Bandung spirit not only in biographical terms but also in terms of casting an ethics of liberation on a global scale that interwove the fates of metropoles and colonies as well as diverse colonial subjects. I frame my investigation of these influences through Fanon’s concept of Black humanism and his diplomatic injunction on behalf of the wretched of the earth, both of which I also argue can be genealogically connected to anti-colonial anti-fascism. I conclude by suggesting that the accretion of the ethics and practices encountered across these journeys from Ethiopia to Bandung with Fanon might aid in reviving an internationalist spirit for our own constrictive age.
Language is never just an instrument of communication, but also a political symbol. Translators, interpreters, and other language professionals working for governments and international organizations often have to take their personal preference out of the equation while taking into account the legal and political connotations in choosing the most appropriate words and expressions when handling official documents relating to international relations, public administration, and law. The case of Hong Kong is probably one of the best examples illustrating the interface between language and politics. Of particular note is the equal status enjoyed by the Chinese and English languages. Translators and interpreters working for the Hong Kong government both before and after 1997 have to consider legal and political factors in performing their duties. Translation or interpretation is no longer just a matter of language and communication, but also serves legal and political purpose. With reference to the political discourse relating to the change in Hong Kong’s political status from a British dependent territory to a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, what then are the legal and political connotations of words and expressions that translators and interpreters of the Hong Kong government have to consider? To answer this question, the author is writing this paper with at least two identities: a practitioner and a researcher. As a practitioner, the author has been a translator and conference interpreter serving at high-level meetings between the Hong Kong government and the authorities of the Mainland of China for more than ten years. As a researcher, the author is developing a theoretical framework by having dialogues with the relevant political discourse that he himself has participated in producing. The author has integrated discourse analysis with his first-hand experience as a translator and conference interpreter, borrowing concepts from such disciplines as international relations, politics, law, and translation.
Political discourse, situated at the intersection of language, media and politics, involves the participation of pragmatics at different levels. The progress of postcolonialism and globalisation have resulted in emerging themes of research in this aspect that merit further exploration. This study aims to add to the literature a ‘pragmatic framework’ for political discourse analysis, incorporating the recent development of corpus analysis tools. Pragmatic features including reference and co-text were examined in and illustrated by examples from a corpus consisting of policy speeches in the United Kingdom (UK) and Hong Kong (HK) during the period of 1997 and 2017. The study provides a unique integration of three aspects of pragmatic comparison, i.e., a comparison of political language in a previous coloniser (i.e., United Kingdom) and colonised region (i.e., Hong Kong), a cross-cultural juxtaposition through the lenses of translated/interpreted language, and a historical analogy of the policy speeches delivered in the past 21 years. The study, interdisciplinary in nature, contributes to the existing research an analytical framework for the study of pragmatics in political discourse. It also provides new insights into our knowledge of political language in the media.