Friday, September 15, 2006

Death of a Warrior

Oriana Fallaci, Italian journalist and outspoken enemy of Islam, died today at the age of 77 after a battle with cancer.

She was the author of polemical works such as The Force of Reason and The Rage and the Pride. In her journalistic career she interviewed the likes of Yasser Arafat, Henry Kissinger and Ayatollah Khomeini. She was a war correspondent who covered the 1956 Hungarian insurrection, the Latin-American upheavals in the 70's, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the 1968 massacre in Mexico City, where she was seriously wounded.

Ms. Fallaci was a ferocious critic of Islam, and has taken refuge in New York City after being found guilty of breaking an Italian law which prohibits the "slander" of religions. She has received many death threats from Muslims all over the world for her vehement invectives against Islam and its followers:

Wake up folks, wake up! As intimidated as you are by the fear of going against the stream and looking racist (a grossly erroneous word, by the way, because the problem has nothing to do with a race: it has to do with a religion) you don't understand or don't want to understand that a Reverse Crusade is on the march. As blinded as you are by the myopia and the stupidity of the Politically Correct, you don't realize or don't want to realize that a war of religion is being carried out. A war they call Jihad. A war that does not aim at the conquest of our territory maybe, (maybe?), but certainly aims at the conquest of our souls and at the disappearance of our freedom. A war which is conducted to destroy our civilization, our way of living and dying, of praying or not praying, of eating and drinking and dressing and studying and enjoying Life. As numbed as you are by the propaganda of the falsehood, you don't put or do not want to put in your mind that if we do not defend ourselves, if we do not fight, the Jihad will win. It will win, yes, and destroy the world that somehow or other we have been able to build. To change, to improve, to make more intelligent, less bigoted or not bigoted at all. It will cancel our culture, our art, our science, our identity, our morals, our values, our pleasures... By God! Don't you see that all these Ousamas Bin Ladens consider themselves authorized to kill you and your children because you drink alcohol, because you don't grow the long beard and refuse the chador or the burkah, because you go to the theatre and to the movies, because you love music and sing a song, because you dance and watch television, because you wear the miniskirt or the shorts, because on the beach and by the swimming pool you sunbathe almost naked or naked, because you make love when you want and with whom you want, or because you don't believe in God? I am an atheist thank God. And I have no intention of being punished for this by retrograde bigots who, instead of contributing to the improvement of humanity, salaam and squawk prayers five times a day.

Of liberal Europeans, whom she refers to as "cicadas", she has been just as severe:

...I heard that some deluxe cicadas will soon come to New York. They will come on holiday, to visit the new Hercolaneum and the new Pompeii, I mean the Towers that no longer exist. They will take a deluxe airplane, they will choose a deluxe hotel, and after a deluxe drink they will immediately go to enjoy the ruins. With their very expensive cameras (two or three thousand dollars each) they will photograph the remains of the melted steel, they will snap suggestive images to show their friends in Rome. With their very expensive shoes (one thousand dollars a pair in the least) they will trample on the ground coffee, maybe they will even spend a tear to replace their former "Good, Americans-got-it-good" and guess what they'll do afterwards. They will go to buy the gas-masks in sale for those who fear a chemical or biological attack. Is it not chic to go back to Rome with a gas-mask bought here? It permits to boast "Gee! I risked my life in New York!" It also permits to start a new fashion, the fashion of the Dangerous Holidays. First they invented the Intelligent Holidays, they who do not have a single drop of intelligence, now they'll invent the Dangerous Holidays, they who do not have a single drop of courage.

Of America, her second home, Fallaci waxed sharply poetic:

...I am profoundly linked to America. I am so even though I often quarrel with her. Even though I condemn her flaws and mistakes and faults. Her too frequent oblivion of the noble principles on which she was born and grew up, to begin with. Her childish cult of opulence, her inconsiderate waste of richness, her moral hypocrisies, her bullish arrogance in the financial and military field. (An arrogance that inevitably emerges and has always emerged from a country arrived at her level of power and supremacy, by the way). And also the haunting memory of a plague now fully wiped out and sometimes erroneously exploited by its victim's descendants, in my opinion, but too long endured. The plague of slavery. Also her paucities in education, I mean the gaps that impoverish her knowledge because let's admit it: scientifically and technologically her knowledge is superb. In the humanistic domain, instead, it is kind of inadequate. Also her constant glorification of violence and brutality, a glorification that especially through the movies poisons her rescued but unlearned plebes and contaminates the rest of the world. Also her sordid and obsessive exhibition of sex, her boring deification of homosexuality, her immoderate and boundless hedonism. All faults that contributed a lot to the fall of the Roman Empire and one day will lead to her fall; remember. Nevertheless, I am profoundly linked to her. America is for me a husband, a lover, to whom I shall always remain loyal and faithful notwithstanding his defects. (And provided that he does not cuckold me with some unforgiveable betrayal). I care for my husband, my lover. I like his impudence, his courage, his optimism. I adore his geniality, his ingenuity, his trust in himself and in the future. I compliment the respect he has for common people and for the wretched, the ugly, the dejected. I envy the infinite patience with which he bears the offences and the slanders. I praise the marvelous dignity and even humility with which he faces his incomparable success, I mean the fact that in only two centuries he has become the absolute winner. The archetype that both in the Good and in the Evil we all want to follow or imitate. The lifebuoy to which we all resort or ask for help. And I never forget that, hadn't this husband defeated Hitler, today I would speak German. Had he not held back the Soviet Union, today I would speak Russian... Finally I admire his undisputed and indisputable generosity... America has always been the Refugium Peccatorum, the orphanage, of the people without a country. Without a patria, without a home, a mother...

Oriana Fallaci, a modern-day Cassandra, died in her beloved Florence. Requiescat in pace.