Torture In Waiting For The Barbarians Essay

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Portrayal of world-wide torture and oppression in “Waiting for the Barbarians”

One of the most horrifying realities of the twentieth century is the widespread existence of state-approved torture. Amnesty International cites allegations that torture took place in ninety-eight countries in 1984 and estimates that in the 1980s more than one-third of the world's governments are responsible for torturing prisoners. The existence of torture in the modern world raises difficult questions for writers, particularly those from South American and African countries. Should authors depict torture in their work, and if they do, how should they portray this incomprehensible act? One write who has wrestled with these issues is J. M. Coetzee, a South African
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When the magistrate is asked by someone that-“Tell me, sir ... what are these barbarians dissatisfied about? What do they want from us?” and he responds to his fellow soldier, “They want an end to the spread of settlement across their land. They want their land back, finally. They want to be free to move about with their flocks from pasture to pasture as they used to be.” The magistrate does not feel only sympathy for the natives, but, on the other moment, he also feels the same contempt for his colonist mates as the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre felt in his preface to Frantz Fanon’s famous book “The Wretched of the Earth”. The magistrate wants the natives to rise and revolt against the Empire. He says, “Shall I tell you what I sometimes wish? I wish that these barbarians would rise up and teach us a lesson so that we would learn to respect them.” And it is the fear of the uprising of the natives that is haunting the colonizers, the torture and violence which they have been practicing since ages, will be given back to them through decolonization. Fanon himself talks most extensively on the dynamics of violence within the colonized worlds. He refers to violence in the context of decolonization. The fundamental dichotomy of colonialism is present through the radical difference in race: the white v/s the black, natives v/s civilized westerners. The colonizers always treat the colonized as subordinate, inhuman, animalistic, barbarians, and Fanon says “ the very moment that they [colonized] discover their humanity, they begin to sharpen their weapons to secure its

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