Friday, September 15, 2006

Oriana Fallaci Dies

AP is reporting that journalist and author Oriana Fallaci of the confrontational interview stylehas died at age 76.

As the NYTimes notes:

Fallaci's recent publications drew accusations of racism and inciting hatred against Muslims. They include the best-selling book ''The Rage and The Pride,'' which came out weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks and found a large audience in Europe.

In the book, she wrote that Muslims ''multiply like rats'' and said ''the children of Allah spend their time with their bottoms in the air, praying five times a day.''

Her next essay, ''The Strength of Reason,'' accused Europe of having sold its soul to what Fallaci described as an Islamic invasion. It also took the Catholic Church to task for being what she considers too weak before the Muslim world.

Describing Europe as ''Eurabia'' -- a mix of Europe and Arabia -- Fallaci said the continent ''has sold itself and sells itself to the enemy like a prostitute.''

''Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam,'' she wrote.

The current invasion, Fallaci went on to say, is not carried out only by the ''terrorists who blow up themselves along with skyscrapers or buses'' but also by ''the immigrants who settle in our home, and who, with no respect for our laws, impose their ideas, their customs, their God.''

Looking for more?

Oriana in Exile
By Christopher Orlet
Published 7/18/2005 12:05:53 AM
On his deathbed, Pope Gregory VII (1020-1085) is reported to have said, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile." Gregory's words might just as well be attributed to his fellow countryman Oriana Fallaci. Wanted for a speech crime in her native Italy, Europe's most celebrated journalist now passes her days in exile in an upper Manhattan townhouse. In May, Fallaci was indicted under a provision of the Italian penal code that criminalizes the "vilification of any religion admitted by the state." Specifically it is charged that her latest book The Force of Reason (due out in the U.S. in October) "defames Islam," which is a little like charging Paul Revere with disturbing the peace.

Prophet of Decline
An interview with Oriana Fallaci.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ms. Fallaci speaks in a passionate growl: "Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty."

Such words -- "invaders," "invasion," "colony," "Eurabia" -- are deeply, immensely, Politically Incorrect; and one is tempted to believe that it is her tone, her vocabulary, and not necessarily her substance or basic message, that has attracted the ire of the judge in Bergamo (and has made her so radioactive in the eyes of Europe's cultural elites).

"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder," the historian Arnold Toynbee wrote, and these words could certainly be Ms. Fallaci's. She is in a black gloom about Europe and its future: "The increased presence of Muslims in Italy, and in Europe, is directly proportional to our loss of freedom." There is about her a touch of Oswald Spengler, the German philosopher and prophet of decline, as well as a flavor of Samuel Huntington and his clash of civilizations. But above all there is pessimism, pure and unashamed.

When I ask her what "solution" there might be to prevent the European collapse of which she speaks, Ms. Fallaci flares up like a lit match. "How do you dare to ask me for a solution? It's like asking Seneca for a solution. You remember what he did?" She then says "Phwah, phwah," and gestures at slashing her wrists. "He committed suicide!"

The impending Fall of the West, as she sees it, now torments Ms. Fallaci. And as much as that Fall, what torments her is the blithe way in which the West is marching toward its precipice of choice. "Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! They don't, for Christ's sake. They don't know who Churchill was! In Italy, they don't even know who Cavour was!"--a reference to Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, the conservative father, with the radical Garibaldi, of Modern Italy. Ms. Fallaci, rarely reverent, pauses here to reflect on the man, and on the question of where all the conservatives have gone in Europe.

Ms. Fallaci describes herself, too, as "a revolutionary"--"because I do what conservatives in Europe don't do, which is that I don't accept to be treated like a delinquent." She professes to "cry, sometimes, because I'm not 20 years younger, and I'm not healthy. But if I were, I would even sacrifice my writing to enter politics somehow."

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