The uniformity of European political thought canon as asserted by postcolonialists has created a ‘residual sense that the Christian faith is an expression of white Western privilege ’. This deficit in postcolonial theory, to account for Grotius and theorists who argued for the separation of soteriology and law, is hazardous to the Christians who must endure the aftermath of decolonization and the rise of Occidentalism in International Society and Law.
The definition of ‘postcolonialism’ is contingent on it’s hyphenated or non-hyphenated nature. If the first, it refers to the period after colonialism. If the latter, it is a neologism, cultivated from various narratives, experiences and hopes. It is a revolutionary and anti-foundational discourse of the political, linguistic, cultural, economic and psychological. In essence, it is a ‘search for alternatives to the discourses of the colonial era ’. Postcolonial theorists, such as Franz Fanon and Edward Said are regarded as the founding fathers of this discourse.
The application of this discourse in International Law has spurned the way for self-determination, sovereignty, the establishment of international recognition of the hierarchal structures created from colonial origins and the systematic exploitation of non-Europeans. The contemporary dialogue within International Law is hindered. Political correctness and post-colonial guilt are evident in the vague condemnations by Western leaders of the persecution of Christians in the MENA countries. The dialogue now exists in a postcolonial framework, Occidentalism driven.
Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth is emblematic in postcolonial theory. It marks a criticism of theology of colonisation. Throughout this text, Fanon tangentially scrutinises Christianity and the Church as instruments of oppression and evangelisation as symbiotic with colonisation. If colonisation takes the animalising discourse, then ‘decolonisation is the veritable creation of new men ’ and this de-theologised and decolonised self is marked by cathartic violence. Fanon provides the example of Algeria in rationalising the potentiality of violence.
The constant reference to violence begets the question of the morality of violence, it’s glamorisation and banalisation, and its necessity. The colonial rule was maintained through violence, thus, the language of the coloniser and the colonised would also be violent. Through violence, the political structure of the colony can be reformed, and the self is restored. Thus, cathartic. To the colonised, and the decolonised individual, the ‘other’ is the post-colonising individual. The ‘us-them’ rhetoric is pluralistic. And now the framework rests on Occidentalism, as opposed to Orientalism.
Said’s Orientalism details the Eurocentrism of political thought and reiterates the concept of ‘othering’. He states that Europe sees the Orient as ‘inscrutable ’, backwards, unenlightened, and therefore, Orientalism was ‘a way of coming to terms with the Orient ’. In a passing comment that sought to be clandestine, Said stated that ‘nobody is likely to imagine a field symmetrical to [Orientalism] called Occidentalism’. However, Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit inspect the anti-Western rhetoric that has emerged from postcolonial theory and conclude that Occidentalism drove a ‘dehumanising picture of the West painted by its enemies ’.
Both Fanon and Said point to the continuing violence of the Occident-Orient in postcolonialism, albeit they fail to recognise the extreme extent of the anti-West sentiment that would be regulated in constant blame censure of the West to take responsibility and compensate for the actions of colonialists centuries ago. Whilst Said urged the reader that ‘the answer to Orientalism is not Occidentalism’, the characteristics of the latter is indefinable and insidious, hinting at neo-colonialism.
This is because polemical texts arguing against anti-American sentiments are often aligned with a call to censor condemnation of US foreign policy . This paper’s criticism of Occidentalism may also be treated in the same regard; as a defence of colonialism, or a call for neo-colonialism in the name of humanitarian intervention. Conversely, this paper underlines the parallels in colonial and postcolonial thought and urges postcolonialism to expand the scope of its lens to include MENA countries where Islamic colonialism produced genocides, mass exodus, and linguistic and cultural assimilation.
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