Crítica del vicio, de María von Touceda

El título de la novela, Critica del Vicio, es un claro guiño a Kant haciendo referencia a La Crítica del Juicio, en la que se trata de determinar si la facultad de conocimiento contiene principios constitutivos o regulativos, en relación al sentimiento de placer y dolor. La representación de un objeto, en la cualidad estética o subjetiva, acaba incluyendo siempre una “validez objetiva”, siendo subjetivo el sentimiento de placer o dolor, independientes del conocimiento. Los juicios de gusto no son lógicos, sino estéticos, produciendo no una satisfacción interesada (vinculada a la voluntad del sujeto , de que un objeto exista), sino desinteresada (vinculada al sentimiento de placer y dolor en la mera contemplación del objeto). Todo ello se aplica al contenido de esta novela, a través de sus múltiples referencias estéticas, ya sea del arte -pues su protagonista estudia Historia del Arte y experimenta un intenso placer ante la contemplación del mismo, como veremos a continuación-, o ante la contemplación de la belleza del cuerpo masculino, dejándose llevar por ambos, totalmente entregada a estas manifestaciones de la belleza de forma totalmente hedonista en la más clásica acepción de la palabra.

Tengo mucho vicio, es un hecho. Un día tuve un orgasmo en el Museo del Prado. Estaba muy embriagada de polvo blanco y, al doblar una esquina, me encontré con El paso de la laguna Estigua, de Joaquín de Patinir. No sabía que esta joya vivía en Madrid. Fue un encuentro muy romántico e inolvidable. Me gusta pensar que, cada vez que vuelvo a la capital,me espera impaciente, como yo a ella’. Con estas líneas se abre una novela en la que se habla de las adicciones, basada en la experiencia y narrada en primera persona y en la que, con un ácido humor, se desmarca de clásicos de este sub-género como El libro de Caín de Alexander Trocchi, Yonqui de Burroughs, Requiem por un sueño de Hubert Selby Jr. o The basketball diaries de Jim Carroll, puesto que no hurga en la sordidez del underworld de la droga. En este sentido aplica la Teoría del Iceberg de Hemingway: “Siempre trato de escribir de acuerdo con el principio del témpano de hielo (iceberg). El témpano conserva siete octavas partes de su masa debajo del agua por cada parte que deja ver. Uno puede eliminar cualquier cosa que conozca, y eso solo fortalece el témpano (el relato). Conforme a esta teoría lo más importante debe ser omitido, asumiendo por otro lado la inteligencia y la capacidad de discernimiento del lector, de forma que el meollo del relato, lo fundamental, debe permanecer ausente. El relato se construye bajo la premisa de esta ausencia tan palpable y significativa; el lector nota que falta ese algo, de forma que lo omitido es una parte vital de la obra y su significado que el lector debe ser capaz de imaginar o inventar. Tan importante es lo expresado como lo silenciado.

Otra consideración interesante respecto a los clásicos sobre esta temática antes mencionados es, por supuesto, la consideración de lo universal y lo particular: por supuesto que comparte rasgos temáticos con otras novelas del subgénero, por lo que tiene rasgos generales y universales, pero al mismo tiempo retrata a la perfección las particularidades inherentes a esta problemática y estas instituciones en España, con sus peculiaridades características, por lo que podemos identificarnos plenamente y vernos reflejados en sus críticas humorísticas.

La novela no arranca con una descripción del underworld de la drogadicción con sus complejidades e implicaciones sociales y personales, sino en la rehabilitación de la protagonista, que ha decidido poner fin a una etapa de su vida, intuida a través de nebulosas alusiones. Con humor, nos introduce en las instituciones dedicadas a la desintoxicación de los adictos con una crítica de la falta de conocimientos que dichas instituciones tienen sobre los temas que abordan cuando, como prólogo a su estancia en la institución, cumplimenta un formulario lleno de cómicos errores e imprecisiones. Esto no es un hecho aislado, sino algo que pasa con frecuencia y no por constituir una nota humorística es menos realista. Es un hecho común que las personas e instituciones que se dedican a esta tarea tienen a menudo enormes -y ridículas- lagunas que se evidencian generando situaciones que a menudo provocan las carcajadas del usuario de estos servicios o que hacen que, ante una charla informativa obligatoria por parte de alguna bienintencionada Consejería ante una audiencia de jóvenes, estos, entre irritados e incrédulos ante el desconocimiento del ponente, acaben corrigiendo sus imprecisiones. En este caso, es un pequeño desahogo cómico antes de enfrentarse al difícil proceso de la desintoxicación.

Una vez pasado este trámite, se nos presenta un entorno en el que los toxicómanos son ‘democráticamente homogeneizados’ en base a su adicción. Se les quiere desprovistos de cualquier distinción individual y se les despoja de cualquier símbolo de diferenciación, en este caso el Konnemann de la protagonista o El Anticristo de Nietzsche del personaje de Cabaleiro. Con la introducción de personajes cultos, desafía al extendido estereotipo que da por sentado que todos los adictos pertenecen a un lumpenproletariat igualmente uniformizante y nos muestra un panorama mucho más realista, refutando ese mito y abriéndonos una ventana a la realidad. Caracteres antagónicos entre sí: genios y personas con un nivel cultural deficiente, personas con orígenes y motivaciones dispares conviven a diario en el underworld de la droga. Crítica la función de control represor de estas instituciones, que prohiben establecer preferencias entre internos o destacar de cualquier forma. Al igual que en la sociedad burguesa estándar, alimentada por el discurso oficial, cualquiera que se sale de las medidas determinadas establecidas por la sociedad es sancionado y reprimido de alguna manera.

La novela sorprende por su celebración de la vida, pese a la temática, y se niega a caer en el drama fácil. Nos muestra a un personaje que, en un canto a la individualidad, se entrega a la vida y al goce intelectual, estético, sensual, sexual y al amor sin ningún tipo de cortapisa o reserva. El Eros vence de forma aplastante al Tanatos.

The End of the Affair. A slice of life.

The end of the affair portrays the love triangle among Henry Miles, Sarah Miles and Maurice Bendrix, and it is considered as one of Greene’s ‘Catholic novels’ in which he defended his right to write ‘from the point of view of the black square as well as from the white’, for if his writing merely conformed to official dogma, the result would be mere propaganda. Nor was Greene’s objective to write a morality tale, neither did he write for the righteous, but for the sinners, for the outcast, for those who harboured doubts, like himself. An actual example was when, during one of Greene’s conversations with the priest who advised him during his conversion, he sought to systematically challenge and undermine the priest’s Catholic tenets with his agnostic comments (Ways of Escape), maybe attempting to ground his own faith on reason, since he wanted a genuine conviction and not blind faith. In parallel but conversely, Sarah Miles challenges and counters Mr. Smythe’s disbelief with her faith, hoping that he is able to ‘convince’ her that God doesn’t exist so that she doesn’t have to honour the commitment she took in order to save Bendrix’s life, since everything that lead her to that commitment would have been caused by but mere chance; ‘I’ve caught belief like a disease. I’ve fallen into belief like I feel in love.’ Both Greene and Sarah Miles sought the truth in their own way; one wanted to see faith through reason, maybe in order to be fully convinced, the other desperately wanted not to believe.

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The church treated this novel with severity, most of all because it was considered as a Catholic novel, but didn’t agree with their expectations of a final moral condemning all that sinning against the 7th commandment. On the contrary, the plot flows full of human love, weaknesses and low passions, all too human. In 1953, Bernard William Cardinal Griffin, the archbishop of Westminster read Greene a letter from the Holy Office, who had an official index of forbidden books up to 1966, in which Cardinal Pizzardo requested him to change some passages of The Power and The Glory, to which refused ‘politely’ (Ways of Escape) using the excuse that the copyright was in the hand of his publisher. Griffin added that in his opinion he would have preferred that Rome had condemned The end of the affair, on the grounds of its indecent scenes. When the interview between Griffin and Greene ended, the former provided a copy of the pastoral letter condemning not only The power and the glory but also, by implication, The heart of the matter and The end of the affair. ‘Novels which purport to be the vehicle for Catholic doctrine frequently contain passages which by their unrestrained portrayal of immoral conduct prove a source of temptation to many of their readers. The presentation of the Catholic way of life within the framework of fiction may be an admirable object but it can never be justified as a means to that end the inclusion of indecent and harmful material’. Despite this rebuke, the church took no further action. ‘The affair was allowed to drop into that peaceful oblivion which the Church wisely reserves for unimportant issues’ (Ways of Escape). Also, The heart of the matter, The end of the affair, England made me and The quiet American offended Catholics on the Irish censorship board and were banned by the Eire government. However, this ban was later reversed upon an appeal by his publishers.

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But what is so scandalous in the eyes of Catholicism? The ‘explicitness’ of the love scenes? The portrayal of adultery? In fact, the theme explored by this novel is by no means uncommon in literature. Rivers of ink have flown throughout history on this matter. Then, what makes The end of the affair different to others? It portrays infidelity from the point of view of the lover, the outsider who witnesses the core relationship consumed by jealousy, which isn’t innovative either. However, what draws the reader’s attention, is the sheer intensity of the first-person narrator’s feelings, a perspective that makes the reader fully identify with his constant and deep suffering: ‘I couldn’t have thought of her more. Even vacancy was crowded with her’, with his deep love: ‘We can love with our minds, but can we love only with our minds? Love extends itself all the time, so that we can love even with our senseless nails: we love even with our clothes, so that a sleeve can feel a sleeve’. ‘How strange too and unfamiliar to think that one’s presence had once had the power to make a difference between happiness and dullness in another’s day’. There is a special emphasis on his jealousy, since being in his position he can’t cope with the idea of her going back to her husband and he doesn’t understand her when she says that he only wants to see him happy, even with other women; ‘I refused to believe that love could take any other form than mine,. I measured love by the extent of my jealousy, and by that standard, of course, she couldn’t love me at all’. The novel depicts different stages, shapes and levels of pain during the narration and emotions emerge like an overwhelming tide: jealousy, abandonment, envy, death wishes and hatred, which culminates in its ultimate and most universal expression; ‘I hate you God. I hate you as though you actually exist’. The plot revolves around his turmoil, as we see the events evolving through his eyes and feel their deep effect on him. His torment conveys all kinds of disturbing emotions that bring to mind the debate about the representation of ‘good’ and ‘disturbing’ events in classic theatre. It was argued that presenting awful, fearsome or sinful scenes to the audience could have an ‘uplifting’ effect, by purging the emotions through catharsis. All human emotions could be ‘useful’ as a vehicle of morals. Well, not all of them, since lust was equally demonised by Aristotle. Horace, however, asserted that all human emotions were valid in order to construct a believable character in a play. Could this be applied to this novel? Jealousy is a much demonised emotion these days and I doubt if the morals of political correctness or even feminism wouldn’t shun this novel entirely. However, jealousy is just another human emotion that Bendrix feels and puts into words as the suffering lover in the triangle. Is the novel morally uplifting in any way? Does the reader experience catharsis after Sarah’s semi-voluntary demise –as a kind of atonement for her adultery- or after Henry and Bendrix’s friendship? I understand it more in terms of portraying emotional upheaval, rather than in terms of mere catharsis. Nevertheless, there may be some readers for whom Sarah’s demise could be seen as some kind of (cruel) ‘poetic justice’ or as an act of closure that brings peace to both men; as if it was deserved instead of representing the lack of will to live under certain conditions, which lead her to let herself go, unable to do anything else than struggling between faith and love.

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The novel is rich with human, all too human, emotions taken to the extreme in this love triangle. Emotions that we could all surrender to at some point in our lives. No one is exempt from sinking low into the quicksand of unrestraint passions, not even Catholics –in fact, that’s what the sacrament of penance is for-. We live the utmost intensity of Bendrix’s politically incorrect emotions. We experience Sarah’s dichotomies and dilemmas; between Henry and Bendrix, between God and Bendrix; ‘I’m not at peace anymore. I just want him like I used to in the old days. I want to be eating sandwiches with him. I want to be drinking with him in a bar. I’m tired and I don’t want any more pain. I want Maurice. I want ordinary corrupt human love. Dear God you know I want to want Your pain, but I don’t want it now. Take it away for a while and give it me another time’. Nothing is certain, faith wavers, the solid pillars of marriage are put into question, as love itself seem to falter; conflict is served, and conflict is the source of drama; Sarah Miles wants to shake free from the shackles that keep her apart from her lover so that they can finally reunite and be together. Although she does her best to respect her commitment to God, her love for Bendrix proves to surpass every other consideration. We share Henry’s feelings and fate as well; Henry is a pathetic character. Not pathetic in the derogative sense, but in the classical sense of the word: he moves us and elicits heartfelt compassion. He never vents his fears and insecurities; he doesn’t seem to be of the intense sort at all. Rather, he remains apparently calm, but exudes sadness and defeat. He’s aware that he’s not able to fulfill Sarah and sees himself as an inane and dull man, as a mere habit for his wife, as just a brotherly figure. Funny enough, he doesn’t suspect while the affair is going on or when Bendrix suddenly disappears from their lives, but when Sarah starts meeting Mr. Smythe secretly. Not until then does Henry decide to hire a private detective, involving Bendrix himself in the process. It’s a detailed and first-hand informed study on the three different perspectives of human suffering within a love triangle.

Greene was at least standing on two of the three vertexes himself, so he knew exactly how it felt to be the unfaithful husband, but also the lover. His own experiences and feelings during his own affair with Catherine Walston served as the basis for The End of the Affair. The British edition of the novel is dedicated to “C” while the American version is made out to “Catherine.”

It’s all about that intensity that you can’t help but feel, all the suffering that never ends, all the jealousy, the coarse and raw passion that devours the lover; The informed portrayal of all that intertwined structure who has inspired pages and pages throughout history, its unbearable truthfulness and its intensity make this novel a masterpiece.

Bibliography:

The End of the Affair, 1951.

Ways of Escape, 1980.

The hungry road

Written by the Nigerian author Ben Okri in 1991, this magical realism story delves into the harsh life conditions in a Nigerian ghetto during the British colonial rule and the world of spirits, which mingles with day-to-day reality.

Azaro is an unborn child who lives with his spirit companions in a world of their own, where they are free from the heartlessness of the human beings, from injustice, unfulfilled longings and the fear of dying. In fact that’s why babies cry when they are born and severed from the world of spirits.

As these unborn children approach their next incarnation, they make pacts with their spirits companions that they will return at the first opportunity. However, if they break these pacts, they will be assailed by hallucinations and haunted by their spirit companions. The unborn children who make these pacts are known as Abiku or spirit children and thay keep coming and going, dying and rebirthing, often to the same mother, causing great suffering in the family.

(Picture: The Abiku children used to be marked with razors)

Contrary to other babies, Azaro is born smiling and, despite his pact with the spirits and the hardships ahead of him, he changes his mind about his pact, decides to make his mother happy by staying and clings to life. His zest for life is greater than any threat or any fear, greater than the spirits’ constant harassment and their repeated murder attempts to have him back in their world. There’s a dichotomy between not wanting to get born at all, knowing for sure that there will be suffering, and wanting to live it all, with innocence and an open mind.

As an Abiku child, Azaro is half-way between both worlds, and sees things that nobody else can see. His world is populated with akward characters, albinos and people with weird deformities who are not really human beings, but spirits who have borrowed bits of human beings to partake of human reality: life, sex, alcohol… He encounters many of these spirits when he is at Madame Koto’s bar, where he is ’employed’ by the tough and imposing woman as a ‘lucky charm’, although in the end he seems to attract spirits and drive the regulars away.

Everyday, Azaro goes back to an extremely humble home populated by rats and mosquitoes and swarming with creditors and to his father’s fits of rage after being exploited all day. His father gets into fights, gets sacked and then work under deplorable conditions, both physical and ethical, since the boss asks the workers who they are going to vote for before letting them carry his loads.

The political arena is equally disappointing, with the politicians only interested in getting votes. The world of politics is satirically polarised into the Party of the Rich and the Party of the Poor. During their campaign, some representatives of the Party of the Rich, together with their thugs and the landlord appear in a van to deliver their speech, but people living in the poors’ quarter don’t fall for their deceiptful rhetoric and ridicule them. After receiving a ‘gift’ of rotten powdered milk to conquer their votes, the bash the politicians and burn their van.

This novel displays several different layers of existence, whether social, political, religious, cultural, colonial or spiritual; all of them woven together but occupaying different spaces at the same time, and which we see from the point of view of this peculiar and endearing child who faces every challenge without drama.

‘Things fall Apart’

early 20th century, Lagos, Nigeria --- A meeting of colonial administrators with tribal messengers from the interior in Lagos, Nigeria. --- Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

Things fall Apart is Achebe’s first novel. Published in 1958, two years before Nigeria gained independence from the British rule, the novel portrays life in an Igbo village, Umuofia, in the 1890s and the dramatic consequences of the changes introduced by colonialism and Christianity.

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The protagonist, Okonkwo, is a great wrestler, renowned warrior and hardworking member of the community. He is not a very likeable character, so one expects a Schadenfreude novel; the rise and fall of such a ruthless man. Okonkwo attempts to achieve prestige and status by accumulating wealth. Also, as a warrior, he is always willing to display the maximum cruelty, which he also does in his own household, to ‘control the womenfolk’. He feels he is destined for greatness and seeks to distance himself from his father, whom he regards as a failure and an ‘effeminate’ man. He reacts against his father’s perceived weakness by being a ‘hyper masculine’ man who rejects his feminine side, upsetting the Earth goddess Ani. He controls his family through anger, beats his wives and despises his son Nwoye, who reminds him of his father. In order not to appear as a weak man, he even kills Ikemefuna, a boy taken from Mbaino as a compensation for the murder of a daughter of Umuofia in order to avoid war. Ikemefuna lives in Okonkwo’s compound, in his first wife’s hut together with Nwoye, for some years and regards Okonkwo as a father. Okonkwo himself grows fond of the boy, who is the kind of son he always wanted and a role model for Nwoye. Ikemefuna’s death, along with certain customs that he could not accept, eventually leads Nwoye to embrace Christianity and to turn his back on his family and traditions.

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After an accidental death caused by Okonkwo’s gun during the Yam Festival, he is barred from Umuofia for seven years, during which Christian missionaries arrive and establish themselves in Umuofia. Christians are granted ‘all the land they wish’, but within the Evil Forest; the place where Umuofians get rid of unwanted sets of twins (whom they regards as an abomination), lepers, outcasts and the mutilated bodies of the ogbanje (children who die during infancy only to be reborn from the same mother over and over). They expect the Christians to die there, but they build their church and start gaining support from the osu (outcasts), the mothers of twins and unsuccessful men who are looked down on in Umuofia.

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He returns from exile only to witness how Christianity has divided Umuofia and how a colonial government is taking root, debunking the ancient customs and laws. Some of the Christian converts, raised in the belligerent Igbo culture, wish for a religious war but they are prevented to act out by the priest. However, some of them challenge their former religion actively. The Christian convert Enoch unmasks an egwugwu, a masquerader representing an ancestral spirit, killing the spirit. The egwugwu then retaliate and destroy Enoch’s compound as well as the church, and the leaders of the community –Okonkwo among them- are jailed and whipped. They are released after paying a fine. When the traditionalist Igbo gather to mourn the abominations suffered by the ancient gods, some colonial officers arrive to disperse the crowd. Okonkwo draws his machete and decapitates the court messenger. But the divided community fails to rise in defense of traditional life, so Okonkwo retreats and hangs himself, committing the ultimate offence against the Earth goddess.

Originality in literature

Nowadays, originality is seen as the greatest and most central of literary virtues. However, it only arose as a literary virtue during the Romantic period, comprising inventio (practical skill of an artisan) and creatio (associated with artistry and the exaltation of the individual author and his/her original input). Before that era, getting ‘inspiration’ from previous texts was very common, and also we can find the same plots over and over throughout literary history. In fact, according to Roland Barthes, ‘all texts are made from traces of already existing texts. They are but a fabric woven with allusions and references’. But that won´t make non-connoisseurs feel less cheated when they find out that worldwide celebrated authors ‘borrowed’ from previous writers or the extent to which Shakespeare himself drew from prior works by chroniclers and other playwrights. However, why do we know about Shakespeare then, but most people have never heard of Saxo Grammaticus or Belleforest to list but a few of those whose plots and characters (some in turn previously ‘inspired’ in prior works) he copied? Does that imply that if a writer takes from a previous text and improves it he/she makes it his/her own?

SHAKES

Despite the compulsion for novelty that rules the market nowadays, there is nothing really new under the sun. The consumer of culture tends to look for something new and different rather than something better, but forgets that the ultimate aim of literature is mostly the portrayal of the old and unchanging human nature in all its manifestations: love, hatred, jealousy, infidelity, loyalty, violence…

And well, quoting John Erskine: ‘Is it the originality of genius in art to say something no one has ever thought of before, or to say something we all recognise as important and true? As for the question of priority, even stupid things has been said for a first time; do we wear a laurel for being the first to say them?’

 

Sources:

JSTOR

THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF THEORY AND CRITICISM

 

Graham Greene

Born in 1904 in what Virginia Woolf called “the leaning tower generation”, Graham Greene came from a world of inherited privilege which made him feel uneasy in the face of poverty and injustice, and lead him to flirt with the left in his youth only to become disillusioned with all forms of government and suspicious of any state intervention later. He felt that the old liberal myths had been debunked by reality in a politically unstable and hostile world. This aspects of his background inform his novels, in which romantic and paradoxical protagonists -reflecting the author’s nature- are usually faced with moral dilemmas or depart from convention to a certain extent. This situation leads them to an uncertain moral quicksand they strive to make sense of. This atmosphere as well as his protagonists’ character traits gave rise to the term ‘Greenland’ to refer to this peculiar yet familiar world.

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Called by some a ‘Catholic writer’, he rejected this label saying that he just was ‘a writer who happened to be a Catholic’. He converted to Catholicism just before marrying a Catholic and used to hold theological discussions with the priest in charge of conducting his instruction, during which he defended atheism and agnosticism. He later said that he considered himself to be a ‘Catholic agnostic’. Four of his novels stem to a certain extent from Catholicism and are even called by some ‘his Catholic novels’; Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair. Both in The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair, the protagonist faces the moral implications of infidelity and in The Heart of the Matter those of suicide.

Greene experienced both during his life and that makes the novels very realistic, authentic and heartfelt. Suffering from depression, Greene used to say that he had ‘a character profoundly antagonistic with domestic life’. In the first volume of his autobiography, A Sort of Life, he mentions that his grandfather was bipolar and that he would have diagnosed as such at the time he was writing it. He attempted suicide on several occasions before coming of age, one of them by playing Russian roulette and resorted to psychoanalysis for some months when he was 17.

His experience in the Secret Service during World War II provided him with material for several of his espionage novels or ‘entertainments’, as he somewhat derogatorily called them –The Ministry of Fear, The Confidential Agent, The Human Factor, The Quiet American-. However, we can also find a certain philosophical taste to them.

Greenland is a very special environment where anyone who has experienced failure, moral dilemmas, has felt the burden of boredom, has faced injustice or is aware of what underlies the façade of convention -which really equals saying anybody who is human and has a brain- will feel at home.

Nationalism

In order to figure out what nationalism is all about, we must firstly ask ourselves what does nation mean. Nation is an elusive concept, as all abstractions are, that defines a unified imaginary community in which an elite is chosen to speak on behalf of the people but don´t recognise the role of the less privileged or opposing views in order to convey that image of unity it is based upon.

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The sense of national belonging is forged by the exclusion or denigration of others and the nationalist discourse uses several mechanisms to try and create that delusional sense of belonging. The nation, as a myth, needs to create that feeling of belonging to something greater than oneself and does it by resorting to symbols, to a common culture, to language and traditions, as well. Also, race and ethnicity are typically used to set the limits of the nation by discriminating individuals on the ground of physical features, positing boundaries that establish who can or cannot belong to the nation according to certain parameters. Racial difference is socially and discursively constructed and used for particular porpuses within nationalism. According to Etiènne Balibar there are two main forms of racism; external racism, which involves the discrimination of those who live outside the border on the grounds of race and internal racism which discriminates those within the nation not deemed to belong to an imagined community by keeping them in a subservient position in society or, in some cases, by their extermination.

There are several well known examples of the use of race and ethnicity for privileging one racial group as the nation’s true people as a strategy to build the myth of the nation.

  • We can all recall the genocide in Rwanda, grounded on ethnicity, in 1994: the mass slaughter in Rwanda of the ethnic Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu peoples. Some estimates claim that anywhere between 500,000-1,000,000 were murdered, along with thousands of Tutsi sympathizers, with another 2 million refugees in neighbouring countries. These kinds of conflicts based on ethnicity are not rare in those countries who inherited their borders from the colonising countries, given that withing those borders many different ethnic groups, different cultures and religions can be found.

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  • In the Basque Country, Sabino Arana and others based their nationalist discourse on some theories which established the Basque physical and genetic features, such as the fact that the Basques possessed the highest global apportion of the Rh- blood types, or that they had certain craneal and physical features. These theories were also supported by authors such as the geneticist L. Luca Cavalli Sforza, who stated that the Basques were the descendants of the Cro-Magnons, and served to build a sense of exclusive national identity which was used by Basque politician Xabier Arzalluz in 1993, not that long ago.
  • Hitler intended to foster an Aryan Germany by the extermination of other ethnic groups and those he considered defective and undertook the Lebensborn project,  a state supported association in Nazi Germany with the goal of raising children of persons classified as “racially pure and healthy” as based on Nazi ideal ethnicity.

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Sources:

Beginning Postcolonialism – McLeod

http://www.worldwithoutgenocide.org