Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Rage and the Pride of Oriana Fallaci

By Aussiegirl

It's one of those news days when you don't know where to start or which way to turn. Do not, under any circumstances, overlook or miss this piece by
Tunku Varadarajan, in today's WSJ -- an unforgettable interview with one of the unforgettable personalities and writers of our time, Oriana Fallaci. Her powerful cri de coeur, "The Rage and the Pride", left a lasting impression on me. Rarely have I read such a passionate defense of Western Civilization, and the American experiment even by an American author. Her analysis of the philosophies and thinking which led the Founding Fathers to formulate their revolutionary ideas is a revelation.

Now she is under indictment in her own home country of Italy, for essentially a speech crime -- she has defamed Islam according to the courts, and for this she has been indicted and will be tried if she should step foot in the country of her birth. She presently lives in New York. How has this happened? How has a Western democracy become a place where authors are put in prison for publishing their opinions and thoughts? Did our forefathers and theirs not die for a system where freedom of speech was championed, and if anyone was offended -- then so be it? Whatever happened to the motto of -- I may hate what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it? Words fail me.

Read more:

In her case, the religion deemed vilified is Islam, and the vilification was perpetrated, apparently, in a book she wrote last year--and which has sold many more than a million copies all over Europe--called "The Force of Reason."

Its astringent thesis is that the Old Continent is on the verge of becoming a dominion of Islam, and that the people of the West have surrendered themselves fecklessly to the "sons of Allah." So in a nutshell, Oriana Fallaci faces up to two years' imprisonment for her beliefs--which is one reason why she has chosen to stay put in New York. Let us give thanks for the First Amendment.

. . . "When I was given the news," Ms. Fallaci says of her recent indictment, "I laughed. Bitterly, of course, but I laughed. No amusement, no surprise, because the trial is nothing else but a demonstration that everything I've written is true." An activist judge in Bergamo, in northern Italy, took it upon himself to admit a complaint against Ms. Fallaci that even the local prosecutors would not touch.

. . . 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).

. . . "You cannot survive if you do not know the past. We know why all the other civilizations have collapsed--from an excess of welfare, of richness, and from lack of morality, of spirituality." (She uses "welfare" here in the sense of well-being, so she is talking, really, of decadence.) "The moment you give up your principles, and your values, the moment you laugh at those principles, and those values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period." The force with which she utters the word "dead" here is startling. I reach for my flute of champagne, as if for a crutch.

"I feel less alone when I read the books of Ratzinger." I had asked Ms. Fallaci whether there was any contemporary leader she admired, and Pope Benedict XVI was evidently a man in whom she reposed some trust. "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."

. . . The scant hopes that she has for the West she rests on his successor. As a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI wrote frequently on the European (and the Western) condition. Last year, he wrote an essay titled "If Europe Hates Itself," from which Ms. Fallaci reads this to me: "The West reveals a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological; the West no longer loves itself; in its own history, it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure."


At 8:50 PM, Blogger BonnieBlueFlag said...

Ms. Fallaci said, "The moment you give up your principles, and your values, the moment you laugh at those principles, and those values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period."

While I have not given up my principles and my values, they are being ripped away from those around me, who are not as strong in their beliefs, either because of weakness or youth.

We were reminded once again today, by our elected Senators, that we have no right to expect respect for the flag that represents our history and our civilization.

The US Supreme Court took away our most basic property rights today, can that prized First Amendment be far behind?


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