Deeply saddening news at the end of this 9/11 anniversary week. The outspoken lioness Oriana Fallaci has died of cancer:
Oriana Fallaci, one of Italy’s best-known writers and war correspondents who goaded the world’s great and issued a vitriolic assault on Islam after the September 11 attacks on the United States, died on Friday aged 77.
Fallaci died in her home town of Florence after battling cancer for several years, a hospital official said.
Aggressive and provocative to the end, Fallaci made her name as a tenacious interviewer of some of the most famous leaders of the 20th century.
She quarreled with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, provoked U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger into likening himself to a cowboy, and tore off a chador (enveloping Islamic robe) in a meeting with Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
“A great Italian and brave writer has died who has led a life full of passion, full of love, with great civil courage,” Ferruccio De Bortoli, editor-in-chief of Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper, told Reuters.
She refused to candycoat her criticisms of Islam. She refused to submit to jihadi thugs. Her books, her life, her rage and her reason serve as fiery inspirations in an era of flinching dhimmitude.
Buy her books if you haven’t yet to see why the jihadists wanted her put in jail for “insulting Islam:”
There is a translation of her essay last summer on the London bombings, which appeals directly to Pope Benedict, here. An excerpt:
Now, I ask myself: “What do you say, what do you have to say, about what happened in London?” They ask me face-to-face, via fax and email; often scolding me because up until now I have remained silent. Almost as if my silence were a betrayal. And each time I shake my head and murmur to myself: what else should I say?!? I’ve been saying it for four years–that I fight against the Monster that has decided to eliminate us physically and, along with our bodies, to destroy our principles and values. Our civilization. For four years I’ve been talking about Islamic Nazism; about the war against the West; about the death cult; about European suicide. About a Europe that is no longer Europe, but Eurabia, and that with its feebleness, its inertia, its blindness, its servitude to the enemy is digging its own grave. For four years, like another Cassandra, I’ve been shouting until I’m hoarse “Troy is burning! Troy is burning!” and I despair of the Danaids for whom, like Virgil in the Aeneid I weep for a city entombed in its torpor. [A city] that, through its wide-open doors receives fresh troops and joins complicit parties [inside]. For four years I’ve been repeating to the wind the truth about the Monster and its accomplices; that is, the accomplices of the Monster who, in good or bad faith, open wide the doors–who, like [those] in the Apocalypse of John the Evangelist, throw themselves at his feet and allow themselves to be stamped with the mark of shame.
I began with “The Rage and the Pride.“ I continued with “The Force of Reason.“ I followed [those] with “Oriana Fallaci Interviews Oriana Fallaci,” and “The Apocalypse.” And in each one I preached, “Wake up, West! Wake up!“ The books, the ideas, for which in France they tried me in 2002, accusing me of religious racism and xenophobia. For which Switzerland asked our Minister of Justice to extradite me in handcuffs. For which in Italy I will be tried for vilifying Islam; that is, for an offense of opinion. (An offense that carries a sentence of three years in prison; none of which will be served by the Islamist caught with explosives in his cantina). Books, ideas, for which the “Caviar” left, the “Fois Gras” right, and even the “Prosciutto” Center have denigrated and vilified me, putting me in the stocks together with all who think as I do. That is, together with the sensible and unprotected people who are defined by the radical-chic in their frivolous talk as “the riff-raff of the Right.”
Yes, it‘s true: In newspapers that in the best of cases pharasaically opposed me with a conspiracy of silence now appear titles using my concepts and words.–“War Against the West.”; “Cult of Death”; “The Suicide of Europe”; Wake up, Italy! Wake up!“ Yes, it’s true: Though without admitting I wasn’t wrong, the ex-secretary of the Democratic Left now submits to interviews in which he declares that “these-terrorists-want-to-destroy-our-values”; that “this-slaughter-is-facist-in-nature-and-expresses-hatred-for-our-civilization”. Yes, it‘s true: In speaking of Londonistan, the section of London where some 700,000 Muslims live, the newspapers which at first gave comfort to the terrorists–going so far as to make excuses for their crime are now saying what I did when I wrote that in each one of our cities exists another city. A subterranean city; equal to Beirut when it was invaded by Arafat in the 70s. A foreign city that speaks its own language and observes its own customs; a Muslim city where terrorists go about their business undisturbed and, thus undisturbed, plan our deaths. The rest is now spoken of openly; even Islamic terrorism, something that was carefully avoided in order not to offend moderate Muslims. Yes it’s true: Now, even the fifth columnists and the imams express their hypocritical condemnations, their mendacious loathing, their false solidarity with the relatives of the victims. Yes, it’s true: Now, thorough searches are being made in the cases of the accused Muslims; suspects are arrested; perhaps it will even be decided to expel them. But in substance, nothing has changed.Does the matter of the One God really suffice to establish a concord of concepts, of principles, of values?!? This is the point, in the unchanged reality of post-attack London that perhaps troubles me the most. I am also troubled because it goes along with, and thereby reinforces that which I consider the error committed by Papa Wojtyla: not to fight as much as he should have, in my opinion, against the illiberal and anti-democratic–no, cruel–essence of Islam. During these last four years, I have done nothing but ask myself why a warrior like Wojtyla, a leader so singular who contributed more than anyone else to the downfall of the Soviet empire and, therefore, of Communism, showed himself to be so weak towards a disease worse than the Soviet empire or Communism. A disease that, above all, targets Christianity (and Judaism) for destruction. I have done nothing but ask myself why he did not inveigh openly against what was happening (and is happening), for example, in Sudan where the fundamentalist regime was practicing (and is practicing) slavery. Where Christians were eliminated (are eliminated) by the millions. Why he was silent about Saudi Arabia where anyone with a Bible in hand or a cross around his neck was (and is) treated like a scum to be put to death. Still today, there is that silence I don’t understand, and…
Naturally, I understand that the philosophy of the Catholic Church is based on ecumenism and on the commandment “Love-your-enemy-as-yourself.“ That one of its fundamental principles (at least theoretically) is forgiveness, sacrifice, turning the other cheek. (A sacrifice I refuse not only for pride; that is, for my way of maintaining my dignity, but also because I believe there is a motive of Evil on the part of those who do evil.) But there also exists the principle of self-defense or, instead, legitimate defense and, if I’m not mistaken, the Catholic Church has made use of this principle more than once. Charles Martel turned back the Muslim invaders lifting up the crucifix. Isabel of Spain tossed them out of Spain while doing the same. And at Lepanto there were even Papal troops. In order to defend Vienna, the last bulwark of Christianity, in order to break the siege of Kara Mustafa, there was also, and above all, the Pole Jan Sobienski with the image of the Virgin of Chestochowa. And if those Catholics had not applied the principle of self-defense–of legitimate defense–we, too, would be wearing the burka or the calabash. We, too, would be calling the few survivors infidel dogs. We, too, We, too, would be cutting off their heads with the halal knife. And Saint Peter’s Basilica would be a mosque, like the Church of Saint Sofia in Istanbul. Worse: the Vatican would be Bin Laden and Zarqawi.
Thus, three days after the latest massacre, when Pope Ratzinger renewed the theme of dialogue, I was astonished. Your Holiness, I speak to you as a person who admires you very much. Who loves you, because you are right about so many things. Who, because of this, is mocked along with those nicknamed “devout atheist,“ “sanctimonious layperson,“ “clerical liberal.“ A person, above all, who understands politics and its necessities. Who understands the drama of leadership and its compromises. Who admires the stubbornness of faith and respects the renouncements and generosity that it demands. But I must pose the following question all the same: do you really believe that the Muslims would accept a dialogue with Christians, or with other religions, or with atheists like me? Do you really believe that they can change, reform, quit planting bombs? You are a very erudite man, Your Holiness. Very cultured. And you know them well. Much better than I. Explain to me then: When ever, in the course of their history–a history that has lasted for 1400 years–have they changed and reformed?
Oh, neither have we been, nor are we, angels. Agreed. Inquisitions, defenestrations, executions, wars, infamies of every kind; as well as Guelphs and Ghibellines without end. And if we want to judge ourselves severely, it’s enough to think about what we did sixty years ago with the Holocaust. But afterwards, we applied a little wisdom, of course. We thought about what we had done and if for no other reason than in the name of decency, we bettered ourselves a little. They have not. The Catholic Church experienced epochal changes, Your Holiness. And again, you know this better than I. At a certain point, it is remembered that the Church was preaching reason; thus choice; thus the Good, thus Liberty, and she ceased to tyrannize. To kill people. Or constrain them to paint only Christs and Madonnas. She understood laicism. Thanks to men of the first order, a long list of which You are a part, she leant a hand to democracy. And today, she speaks to people like me. She accepts them and, far from burning them alive (I never forget that up until four hundred years ago the Holy Office would have sent me to the stake), she respects their ideas. They do not. Therefore, there can be no dialogue with them. And this does not signify that I want to promote a war of religion, a Crusade, a witch hunt, as imbeciles and frauds. (Religious wars, Crusades–me?!? A non-religious person? Go figure. Like I’d want to incite a religious war or a Crusade. A witch hunt–me?!? Being considered a witch and a heretic by the same laypeople and the same liberals, go figure. Like I’d want to start a witch hunt. It simply signifies that to delude one’s self about them is against reason. Against Life, against one’s own survival. And woe unto those who take them into their confidence.
Given the Pope’s brave remarks just this week about Islam and jihad, which has Muslim leaders fuming (when are they not?), it has been heartening to see that Fallaci has had an obvious impact on his thinking.
May her life, an embodiment of the rejoinder “I will not submit,” continue to inspire more boldness.
Turkey’s ruling Islamic-rooted party joined a wave of criticism of Pope Benedict XVI on Friday, accusing him of trying to revive the spirit of the Crusades with remarks he made about Islam. Muslim leaders in the Middle East expressed dismay, and Pakistan’s parliament unanimously condemned him.
The Vatican said the pope did not intend the remarks _ made in Germany on Tuesday during an address at a university _ to be offensive.
The pope quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.
“The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,” the pope said.
“He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,'” he quoted the emperor as saying. He did not explicitly agree with them nor repudiate them.
Turkey’s top Islamic cleric, Religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoglu, asked Benedict on Thursday to apologize about the remarks and unleashed a string of accusations against Christianity, raising tensions before the pontiff’s planned visit to Turkey in November on what would be his first papal pilgrimage in a Muslim country.
Bardakoglu said he was deeply offended and called the remarks “extraordinarily worrying, saddening and unfortunate.”