Monday, September 18, 2006
Oriana, the world appreciates you now...
The European champion in fighting the fascism today (Islamofascism) passed away.
My courageous hero: Oriana Fallaci
Posted: September 18, 2006 1:00 a.m. Eastern
I envision her as a Viking
warrior, whose body is sent to the gods on a fiery barge with all the honors
due. Oriana Fallaci was outspoken, courageous, dedicated, talented, passionate
and honest – in her personal life and in her writings as a journalist, reporter
And now she's gone.
The call, early Friday morning, brought me the news I dreaded. Oriana Fallaci had died at 3 a.m. in a privateclinic in the city of her birth, Florence, Italy. She was 77. She is survived by
siblings and their children. I cried. I felt I knew her and had grown to admire her immensely.
(Column continues below)
She'd fought cancer for years and I knew her condition had worsened. But I'd hoped she would continue to hang on with the strength of spirit that marked her life. Indeed, despite the
ravages of the disease, her spirit was strong and she fought to the end. Oriana Fallaci was never one to give up.
I read her books and I wanted to interview her. I'd been working for more than a year to convince her to be a guest on my KSFO radio program. She didn't like doing radio; she preferred seeing her interviewer. I wrote her several times and spoke with her representatives.
Apparently she was intrigued.
One day, earlier this year as I was leaving for a meeting, I got a phone call. The voice greeted me and said Ms. Fallaci was on the line.
"Now?!" Yes, now.
And we talked. At first she was wary, but then we settled in comfortably and indeed, had a long and good conversation. We spoke of the changes in Italy and across Europe from Muslim immigration and what it means for the future. She told me of terrorists and their effect on the West. She expressed her fears as she saw the same appeasement to Islam taking place in
the U.S. as has happened in Europe and how the seeds of our own destruction are
Her voice was deep and passionate, blunt and angry – and pleading,
in that she wants people to understand the depth of the threats we face. That was her reason forher newest books – informing and raising the alarm.
Ms. Fallaci was at ease talking with me and I assured her that a radio conversation
would be the same. She finally said she wanted to do the interview with me but
it would depend on her health – she had good days and bad.
She added that she was facing trial this summer in Bergamo, Italy, charged with defaming Islam
in her writing. It wasn't the first such trial she faced – indeed, she isn't the
first to face similar legal action in Europe. The irony that "free speech" is
supposedly guaranteed in the Italian Constitution wasn't lost on her.
As we ended the call, it was left that we'd be in touch and would arrange the
interview; it never came to pass. There was the trial. There was her declining
health. Time ran out. However, I treasure more than I can say the fact I had
that private conversation with the woman I now consider a true hero. Oriana
Fallaci indeed was a warrior. As a child and teenager she fought with her father
in the Italian resistance against fascism and aided escaped Allied soldiers
reach safety. That same courage shows in her writing; she took no prisoners.
Over the more than 30 years of her career as a reporter and foreign
correspondent, she was known for her intense and incisive interviews of powerful
and controversial world figures, including Ayatollah Khomeini, Yasser Arafat,
Moammar Gadhafi, Golda Meir, Deng Xiaopeng and Henry Kissinger, among others.
She reported from the center of world conflicts, including Vietnam and the
Persian Gulf, and she was nearly killed after being shot twice during her
coverage of Mexican army protests.
But it was in her last books that she demonstrated supreme courage, speaking out fearlessly about a critical threat to the West from militant Islam. Oriana Fallaci had the intellect to bring history, politics, experience and observation to her writings and combine them with her
passion for the survival of our civilization.
The first, "The Rage and the Pride," written after 9/11, was followed by "The Force of Reason." The third volume of her trilogy, "Oriana Fallaci Interviews Herself and The Apocalypse,"
is not yet available. The two books were worldwide best sellers, having touched a nerve about what is happening in Italy and across Europe as the influx of Muslim immigrants and their culture changes the face of the land. None of this was presented without context. Ms. Fallaci gave the history of Islam's spread from its inception, illustrating what was done, how and to whom – and how the West fought-back for survival.
She wrote, giving specific examples, of how immigration, legal and not, plus higher Muslim birth rates have forced changes in laws, education, art and religion across Europe.
She also told of the levels of fear each time Muslims were offended and how politicians and even
the church capitulate.
One example, from near her home in Tuscany, concerned a Muslim with several wives and a dozen children. Polygamy is illegal, punishable by prison – for Italians.
But not for Muslims. Police told her it was "for reasons of public order." Translation: fear that enforcing the law would cause disorder. That not-so-subtle Muslim threat of coercion plays out in innumerable events she described. She told of church desecrations, demands
to remove the crucifix from Catholic schools, demands to teach in the languages
of the immigrants and demands that Christians not go to class with Muslim
Ms. Fallaci wrote of Muslim non-integration into Western culture and the complicity ofpoliticians from both left and right in allowing it to happen – appeasement for fear of causing "offense." Muslims were clear in stating what would happen if they were "offended." Her descriptions of the French riots and other incidents, to say nothing of the 9/11 attacks, madethat clear. Muslims also clearly are angry about her books. There were death
threats, phoned, shouted and printed. Booklets defamed her family and urged that
she be killed according to the Quran: "To be precise, in the name of four Surahs, according to which before being executed as an infidel-b---- I should be stripped and exposed to unspeakable abuses." Newspapers on the left and right attacked her calling her a whore, a hyena, a Taliban and prolifically used the F-word. An art gallery in Milan had a pro-Islam/anti-American exhibit that
featured a large picture where "I appear decapitated like the Americans executed
with the halal-knife by the head-cutters of Iraq. From the severed neck, a gush
of blood that spreads all over. And my eves (very wicked eyes) wide open in
terror." Oriana Fallaci needed 24-hour police guard in her own country.
Although Italian to the core, she sought exile in the United States in her
last years because she was safer here and because she saw the U.S. as the hope
of the world. Despite that, she rarely appeared in public and did require
Her last books are explicit, complete and honest depictions of
the battle for civilization between Christianity and Islam. She bluntly shows
the changes in Italy, across Europe and indeed, around the world from the influx
of Muslims into Western countries and the effect of fascist Islamists using
terrorism to elicit fear. For that, Oriana Fallaci was excoriated, ridiculed, lampooned, sued and physically threatened. But she was equally damning of politicians, the church, the culture, as well as liberals and conservatives for their complicity in the spread of militant Islam and with
their succumbing to fear and political correctness, which she hated. Oriana
Fallaci said history is repeating itself and the West is being "inert and
suicidal." We'll only survive if people pay attention, have the courage to speak
out and be willing to fight the onslaught.
I doubt we'll see another like her; she was irreplaceable.
Thank you, Oriana Fallaci, for your life and
your work. Now it's our turn to be courageous and carry on the battle. I
read this once: "What terrifies us about death is not the loss of the future,
but the loss of the past. Forgetting is a form of death ever present within life."
Oriana Fallaci is dead, but her words live on. Do not forget her
writings or her warnings. That will honor her extraordinary courage and save our
lives, our country and our civilization.
Appreciating Oriana Fallaciby Daniel PipesDanielPipes.orgSeptember 16,
Oriana Fallaci died yesterday, September 15, in Florence, Italy.
her memory, I offer an introduction to Ms Fallaci that I delivered, at her
request, on November 28, 2005, at a Center for the Study of Popular Culture
event honoring her, chaired by David Horowitz. Her talk that evening, at the 3
West Club in New York City, was latterly incorporated in her book, The Force of
Reason. I believe this was her final public appearance.
It is my great
pleasure to introduce Oriana Fallaci to you.
Born in 1930 in Florence,
Italy, she was brought up in an anti-fascist family and her father was a leader
in the fight against Mussolini. At age 14, Ms Fallaci took part in the
Resistance. For her work during the war, she received an award from the Chief of
the Allied Forces in Italy. She then attended the University of Florence.
She had the writer's urge from early on. She was writing what she calls
"naïve short stories" at the age of 9 and at 16 (after lying about her age)
began covering police and hospital topics. Here is how she has described the
I sat at the typewriter for the first time and fell in
love with the words that emerged like drops, one by one, and remained on the
white sheet of paper ... every drop became something that if spoken would have
flown away, but on the sheets as words, became solidified, whether they were
good or bad.
In a less poetic vein, she has also acknowledged that "What
really pushes me to write is my obsession with death."
subsequently wrote for many Italian, European, and American publications,
including Corriere della Sera, Le Nouvel Observateur, Der Stern, Life, Look, New
York Times Magazine, Washington Post, and The New Republic.
As a war
correspondent, she covered the major conflicts of our time.
She covered the
insurrection in Hungary, getting arrested in the process.
She spent seven
years in the field in Vietnam, both North and South, and ended up being thrown
out of the South.
She reported about the revolutions in Latin America:
Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, as well as the Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico
City, where she was one of just two survivors. (She got caught up in a rally to
oppose the Mexican government's decision to spend enormous amount of money on
the 1968 Olympics and Fallaci was shot at by police, taking bullet fragments in
her shoulder, back, and knee.)
She covered the Lebanon civil war and the
Ms Fallaci conducted her trademark confrontational interviews
with powerful figures, or to use her more colorful terminology, "those bastards
who decide our lives," including Willy Brandt, Lech Walesa, Muammar Qaddafi,
Golda Meir, Ariel Sharon, Haile Selassie, the Shah of Iran, Indira Gandhi,
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and Deng Xiaoping, and H. Rap Brown. Also, she interviewed
leading non-political figures such as Federico Fellini, Sean Connery, Sammy
Davis, Jr., Arthur Miller, Orson Welles and even Hugh Hefner.
She is the
only person to have interviewed the Ayatollah Khomeini, with whom she spent six
hours. At one point, she memorably ripped off her chador in indignation and
heaved it at his eminence.
Known for her challenging interviewing tactics,
Fallaci goaded her subjects into making unintended revelations. "Let's talk
about war," she challenged Henry Kissinger in their 1972 interview, perhaps the
one Americans remember best. Prior to this interview, Kissinger had revealed
little to the press about his life and personality. Fallaci kept after the
secretary of state during their conversation to explain why a mere diplomat
enjoyed such fame. He dodged the question, but eventually gave in. "Sometimes,"
he said, "I see myself as a cowboy leading the caravan alone astride his horse,
a wild west tale if you like." Kissinger thus revealed how he saw himself - as a
heroic, imposing leader who controlled the direction of U.S. politics – and,
consequently, was massively criticized. Even years later, Kissinger referred to
his interview with Ms Fallaci as "the most disastrous conversation I ever had
with any member of the press."
Her interviews also included unusual details.
For example, she wrote of Yasir Arafat about
his "thick, Arab mustache and
his short height which, combined with small hands and feet, fat legs, a massive
trunk, huge hips, and a swollen belly, made him appear rather odd." She
described his head and face in great detail, noting that "he has almost no
cheeks or forehead, everything is summed up in a large mouth with red and fleshy
lips, an aggressive nose, and two eyes that hypnotize you."
Jill M. Duquaine, calls Fallaci the "greatest political interviewer of modern
She is the author of 13 books, all but two of them translated into
English. In all, they have been translated into 26 languages and published in 31
The first one, The Seven Sins of Hollywood, came out in Italian
in 1958, featuring a preface by Orson Welles.
The Useless Sex: Voyage around
the Woman, 1964. (reportage on a whirlwind trip around the world for a weekly
Penelope at War, 1966. (a novel about a career-minded
young female journalist who refuses her boyfriend's pleas to stay home and have
If the Sun Dies, 1966. (collected articles about the U.S. space
The Egotists: Sixteen Surprising Interviews, 1968.
So Be It, 1972 (on the war in Vietnam, sympathetic to the Vietcong) – she shares
Second Thoughts with our host tonight, David Horowitz
An Interview with
History, 1976, collected some of her outstanding interviews; it has been
described as "one of the classics of modern journalism."
Letter to a Child
Never Born, 1976 (a novel, called "one of the finest feminist writings about
pregnancy, abortion, and emotional torture").
A Man, 1980 (a novel based on
her personal experience with the Greek poet and resistance leader Alekos
Inshallah, 1992 (another novel, about the civil war in Lebanon).
After a silence of ten years, she published The Rage and the Pride in 2001,
a response to the challenge of radical Islam. It sold 1 million copies in Italy
and 500,000 in the rest of Europe.
In 2004, she wrote The Force of Reason,
out this month in English from Rizzoli. It also sold 1 million copies in Italy.
In it, she argues that the fall of the West has commenced due to radical Islam.
Western-style democracy, with its liberty, human rights, freedom of thought and
religion, cannot coexist with radical Islam. One of them has to perish. She puts
her money on the West failing.
The third book of her Islamic trilogy,
Fallaci Interviews Herself and The Apocalypse, also came out in 2004, in Italian
(and not yet in English). Here is what Bat Ye'or had to say of it, writing at
FrontPageMag.com, another activity of this evening's sponsor, the Center for the
Study of Popular Culture: "In this brief masterpiece Oriana Fallaci moves us to
tears, shakes us with laughter, enlightens us and transmits her love and despair
for a Europe she served with such great devotion and now watches in despair as
it goes adrift."
In an interview in 2002, she was asked about George W.
Bush. "We will see; it's too soon," she replied. "I have the impression that
Bush has a certain vigor and also a dignity which had been forgotten in the
United States for eight years." But she has her differences with him, especially
when the president calls Islam a "religion of peace." "Do you know what I do
each time he says it on TV? I'm there alone, and I watch it and say, ‘Shut up!
Shut up, Bush!' But he doesn't listen to me."
In earlier years, her
reportage put in her many times in harm's way; nowadays, it is her direct and
unflinching writings on Islam that create dangers for her: "My life," Ms Fallaci
wrote recently, "is seriously in danger."
She also has legal headaches. She
was on trial twice in France in 2002 and was brought up on charges in Italy in
May 2005. She was indicted under a provision of the Italian penal code that
criminalizes the "vilification of any religion admitted by the state."
Specifically, it states that The Force of Reason "defames Islam." One might
therefore say that, wanted for a speech crime in her native country, Europe's
most celebrated journalist now lives in exile in Manhattan.
The plaintiff is
an extremist Muslim of Scottish origin named Adel Smith. He is thought to be the
author of a pamphlet titled "Islam Punishes Oriana Fallaci," that calls upon
Muslims to "eliminate" her and to "go and die with Fallaci." Bye the bye, Smith
has also called for the destruction of the medieval fresco, "The Last Judgment"
by Giovanni da Modena, in Bologna Cathedral, because it depicts the Prophet
Muhammad as languishing in hell.
Ms Fallaci's writings have also, of course,
won her many opportunities. I'd like to mention one: that she was among the
first persons invited by Pope Benedict XVI for a chat, an encounter all the more
significant for her being publicly declared an atheist. Before their meeting,
this is what Ms Fallaci had to say about the new pope:
I feel less alone
when I read the books of Ratzinger I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope
think the same things, there must be something true. It's that simple! There
must be some human truth here that is beyond religion.
It is a particular
honor to have Ms Fallaci with us here tonight, for she is not exactly known as a
socialite. Here is her description of her work habits:
I start working early
in the morning (eight or eight-thirty a.m.) and go on until six p.m. or seven
p.m. without interruption. That is, without eating and without resting. I smoke
more than usual, which means, around fifty cigarettes a day. I sleep badly in
the night. I don't see anybody. I don't answer the telephone. I don't go
anywhere. I ignore the Sundays, the holidays, the Christmases, the New Year's
Eves. I get hysterical, in other words, and unhappy and unsatisfied and guilty
if I don't produce much. By the way, I am a very slow writer. And I rewrite
To conclude, here is Oriana Fallaci, speaking of her legacy:
She hopes, through her books,
to die a little less when I die. To leave the
children I did not have... . To make people think a little more, outside the
dogmas that this society has nourished us with through centuries. To give
stories and ideas that help people to see better, to think better, to know a
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Oriana
Fallaci who will speak on "The European Apocalypse: Islam and the West."
At a time that Europeans were afraid or blind (still many are there) towards Islamofascism the couraegoues Oriana spoke out, full force, no fear from Islamic Inquizition threats.
So long hero!
I am not surprised at the abundance of emotions Italy , by in large showed to the lion.
Technorati - Arab racism Arabization Arabs slavery Freedom 911 Sudan Chad Darfur Sudan genocide Al Qaeda Al Qaida Bin Laden Anti west Anti American Terrorist oganization 'palestinian' terrorism Suicide bombing Saddam Hussein Torture chambers WTC bombing Homicide bombing London bombing Bali bombing Muslim clerics Mullahs Islamic Hitler jihad Sudan genocide Islamic slavery Arab slave masters Genocide bombing Anti Israel bias Arab racism Anti Israel racism Islamofacsism Islamofascism Conflict Israel Islamic Jihad Hamas "palestinian" Animalism "palestinian" cruelty "palestinian" Savagery "Palestine" "Palestinians" Israelis Jewish refugees Victims of terror Moderates Islam Radical Islam Militants Arab occupation Arab Muslims Indoctrination Arab hatred Muslim hatred Nubians Kurds Berbers Marsh Arabs Maronites Assyrians Iran Lebanon Hezbullah Hizbullah Hezbollah Hizballah conspiracy Appeasement 911 IslamofacismMuhammadMohamedOrianaFallaci