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Oriana Fallaci dead at 76
September 15, 2006 9:35 AM   Subscribe

"My cancers are so bad that I think I've arrived at the end of the road. What a pity. I would like to live not only because I love life so much, but because I'd like to see the result of the trial. I do think I will be found guilty." -Oriana Fallaci
posted by felix betachat (47 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
.

And another . for freedom of expression.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:40 AM on September 15, 2006


She seemed to be more of a supernatural force than a mere human. It's difficult to conceive that she is gone. I like the ending of the NY'er article:


“You’ve got to get old, because you have nothing to lose,” she said over lunch that afternoon. “You have this respectability that is given to you, more or less. But you don’t give a damn. It is the ne plus ultra of freedom. And things that I didn’t used to say before—you know, there is in each of us a form of timidity, of cautiousness—now I open my big mouth. I say, ‘What are you going to do to me? You go fuck yourself—I say what I want.’ ”

posted by vacapinta at 9:48 AM on September 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


.

To those who have fought and laboured for the freedom of the press, we journalists say our respects.
posted by parmanparman at 10:07 AM on September 15, 2006


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posted by Hlewagast at 10:07 AM on September 15, 2006


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posted by Danf at 10:12 AM on September 15, 2006


Fallaci vs. Qaddafi
Dec. 16, 1979

FALLACI: Now, I'd like to put together a profile of you, Colonel. And I'd like to do it by conducting a kind of trial, a little indictment to help you understand why you are so little liked in the world. By the way, did you know, do you know, you are so unloved and so unliked?

QADDAFI: I am not loved by those who are opposed to the masses and by those who are against freedom. . . .

FALLACI: But let's see what is being said about you. . . . Where shall we begin? Perhaps with your friendship for that bloody criminal Idi Amin. People ask, "How can the colonel be a friend of such people?" . . .

QADDAFI: Because Amin was and is against Israel. Because Amin is the first African president who had the courage to kick the Israelis out of his country.

FALLACI: If a tyrant who slaughters his own people merits the friendship of Colonel Qaddafi just because he hates the Jews, then Colonel Qaddafi was born 40 years too late. You should have lived when Hitler killed the Jews. Yes, Hitler would have been a very good friend for you.

QADDAFI: The Situation is different. Today, the Jews occupy the land of the Palestinians.
posted by felix betachat at 10:23 AM on September 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


!

(c'mon, she deserves more than dots)
posted by bunnytricks at 10:25 AM on September 15, 2006


the journalist and writer who loves war/because it reminds her of when she was young and beautiful

Heh, I hadn't heard that one before.

Fallaci held a number of reprehensible opinions that, in my belief, were beneath her as a legendary journalist and writer.

But many of her critics are just shrill and embarrassing. Suing somebody for "offense to Islam"?? Feh.
posted by xthlc at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Or, this interview with Ayatollah Khomeini:


Why, she asked, did Khomeini compel women to “hide themselves, all bundled up,” when they had proved their equal stature by helping to bring about the Islamic revolution? Khomeini replied that the women who “contributed to the revolution were, and are, women with the Islamic dress”; they weren’t women like Fallaci, who “go around all uncovered, dragging behind them a tail of men.” A few minutes later, Fallaci asked a more insolent question: “How do you swim in a chador?” Khomeini snapped, “Our customs are none of your business. If you do not like Islamic dress you are not obliged to wear it. Because Islamic dress is for good and proper young women.” Fallaci saw an opening, and charged in. “That’s very kind of you, Imam. And since you said so, I’m going to take off this stupid, medieval rag right now.” She yanked off her chador.


posted by vacapinta at 10:33 AM on September 15, 2006


According to Fallaci, Europeans, particularly those on the political left, subject people who criticize Muslim customs to a double standard. “If you speak your mind on the Vatican, on the Catholic Church, on the Pope, on the Virgin Mary or Jesus or the saints, nobody touches your ‘right of thought and expression.’ But if you do the same with Islam, the Koran, the Prophet Muhammad, some son of Allah, you are called a xenophobic blasphemer who has committed an act of racial discrimination.

It happens on the American left too.

I have no particular bone to pick with Islam, but in my opinion *ALL* organized religions deserve equal amounts of lampooning and denigration. Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Druidism, Scientology, why should any of it be spared ridicule where due?

Sorry to see her gone.

The account of her interviewing Khomeini was particularly enjoyable.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:34 AM on September 15, 2006


.

She deserves props for doing hard-nosed interviews with world leaders when American journalism has been (and still is) mired in vapid happy talk, but her more recent writing on Islam is basically just Ann Coulter for Euro-sophisticates. Her most recent book said Muslims "multiply like rats," yet she has no inkling that this sort of rat imagery was used to demonize Jews in Nazi propaganda such as Jud Suss.
posted by jonp72 at 10:35 AM on September 15, 2006


Fallaci vs. Sharon
posted by felix betachat at 10:40 AM on September 15, 2006


.
posted by forblaga at 10:45 AM on September 15, 2006


The New Yorker: Fact
Issue of 2006-06-05

The magnificently rebellious Oriana Fallaci now cultivates, it seems, the prejudices of the petite bourgeoisie. She is opposed to abortion, unless she “were raped and made pregnant by a bin Laden or a Zarqawi.” She is fiercely opposed to gay marriage (“In the same way that the Muslims would like us all to become Muslims, they would like us all to become homosexuals”), and suspicious of immigration in general. The demonstrations by immigrants in the United States these past few months “disgust” her, especially when protesters displayed the Mexican flag. “I don’t love the Mexicans,” Fallaci said, invoking her nasty treatment at the hands of Mexican police in 1968. “If you hold a gun and say, ‘Choose who is worse between the Muslims and the Mexicans,’ I have a moment of hesitation. Then I choose the Muslims, because they have broken my balls.”
posted by kolophon at 10:52 AM on September 15, 2006


! i must admit i did not know who she was until just now. looks like i've got some amazing research to do...
posted by metasav at 10:55 AM on September 15, 2006


Hehe. I'd say "nasty treatment at the hands of the Mexican police" is an understatement given the details later in the article. She was the survivor of a massacre.


Equally absorbing, in a different way, was the section of her 1969 book, “Nothing, and So Be It,” in which she describes the events of October, 1968, in Mexico City, when soldiers shot and bayonetted hundreds of anti-government protesters. Fallaci was detained with a group of students, and was ultimately shot three times. “In war, you’ve really got a chance sometimes, but here we had none,” she writes. “The wall they’d put us up against was a place of execution; if you moved the police would execute you, if you didn’t move the soldiers would kill you, and for many nights afterward I was to have this nightmare, the nightmare of a scorpion surrounded by fire, unable even to try to jump through the fire because if it did so it would be pierced through.” Dragged down the stairs by her hair and left for dead, Fallaci was ultimately taken to a hospital, where she underwent surgery to remove the bullets. One of the doctors who cared for her came close and murmured, “Write all you’ve seen. Write it!” She did, becoming a crucial witness to a massacre that the Mexican government denied for years.

posted by vacapinta at 11:00 AM on September 15, 2006


from felix betachat's link

It has to Begin's shrewd tactic, with both Jimmy Carter and Reagan, to speak admiringly of Presidents in public, while ignoring their counsels and doing whatever he wants to do. Since this ploy had worked many times before, Begin, in an interview with David K. Shipler of the New York Times, acknowledged some "differences" and "misunderstandings" with the U.S. over Lebanon, but described Regan as "a wonderful friend of the state of Isreal."

it's OT, but this article is rife with bad english, mispellings, missing words and awkward phrasing ... wtf?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:07 AM on September 15, 2006


pyramid termite: "it's OT, but this article is rife with bad english, mispellings, missing words and awkward phrasing ... wtf?"

I would imagine, since the article is from 1982, that it's a reallly bad scan. Given that the most common mistake is words substituted directly below where they should be, I think that makes scan.

posted by koeselitz at 11:17 AM on September 15, 2006


.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:43 AM on September 15, 2006


Fallaci. Fallacy.
posted by telstar at 12:06 PM on September 15, 2006


.

I also must plead ignorance. She looks like quite a person.
posted by owhydididoit at 12:52 PM on September 15, 2006


If she'd talked about Jews as vermin instead of Muslims, I wonder if there would be less awe expressed?
posted by languagehat at 1:03 PM on September 15, 2006


I also find her anti-Arab sentiments to be quite disturbing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:23 PM on September 15, 2006


<awe>.</awe>
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:42 PM on September 15, 2006


.
posted by msali at 2:15 PM on September 15, 2006


> I also find her anti-Arab sentiments to be quite disturbing.

That's diagnostic, you know. It shows you don't feel in any immediate danger of being blown up by one. Your attitude would be more robust if you did, as those of the Israelis, who do, are. Follow me?
posted by jfuller at 2:34 PM on September 15, 2006


> I also find her anti-Jewish sentiments to be quite disturbing.

That's diagnostic, you know. It shows you don't feel in any immediate danger of being Bolshevized by one. Your attitude would be more robust if you did, as those of the Germans, who do, are. Follow me?

Follow me?
posted by languagehat at 2:45 PM on September 15, 2006




In the US and much of Europe, to criticize Christianity is to criticize a dominant social institution. To critizise Islam in such a manner is often to protest too much.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:54 PM on September 15, 2006


Fallaci pre-9/11: courageous speaker of truth to power. Awesome writer. Spoke for humanity as a whole. Brave too.

Fallaci post 9/11: lost the plot. Pro-humanity perspective replaced by selective invective and slander bordering on racism. Still brave, as people have been known to be killed for the things she said. Some of her rants had germs of truth in them which needed to be expressed but the overgeneralisations she made were disgusting.


We should . the pre 9/11 Fallaci, and remember that age and violence do bad things to good minds.
posted by lalochezia at 3:01 PM on September 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


rxrfrx nailed it. but I still wouldn't be able to pronounce his nick even if forced at gunpoint by Islamic Fascists.
posted by wendell at 3:05 PM on September 15, 2006


jfuller: "That's diagnostic, you know. It shows you don't feel in any immediate danger of being blown up by one. Your attitude would be more robust if you did, as those of the Israelis, who do, are. Follow me?"

Look, as someone who really likes Israel, as someone who defended Israel endlessly during the recent conflict when I heard people run it down, and as someone who generally thinks terrorism is pretty shitty and should be dealt with harshly: she says some pretty grating things. One can dislike terrorism without saying, for example, that "Muslims breed like rats." That's one of more than a few statements that cross the line from "criticism of a religion" into "racist/religionist hatred," and it gives the lie to her implication that she's merely criticizing Islam in the way that it's popular to criticize Christianity today. (In fact, it is popular, and acceptable, to say that Islam is sexist, undemocratic, and all sorts of other things. Whereas, if people said that Christians were "filth" that should be "asked to leave," and that they "breed like rats," well, I don't imagine it would go down well. I agree with her that there's something of an anti-Christian bias, especially in Europe, but it's more complex than she makes it seem.) In the end, she turns out to be a pretty well-thought person, I think, but she suffers a defect that lots of southern Europeans seem to: she's intensely bombastic. Maybe that's a journalistic virtue. I don't know.

Either way, she looks to have lived an exciting life in exciting times. Thanks, felix betachat, for the great, well-thought post.
posted by koeselitz at 3:18 PM on September 15, 2006


> Follow me?

jes' checkin'.

posted by jfuller at 3:41 PM on September 15, 2006


what lalochezia said.

.
posted by amberglow at 3:50 PM on September 15, 2006


It's more than a little sad that such a brave and bold figure, who was involved with and interviewed so many powerful and important people, should be remembered only for her fiery stance against Islam. Come on, she made even Henry Kissinger ashamed of himself! This was a remarkable woman who led a full, exciting life, but the NY Times obit devotes almost half of its words to a few ugly statements about Muslims.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:11 PM on September 15, 2006


That's diagnostic, you know. It shows you don't feel in any immediate danger of being blown up by one. Your attitude would be more robust if you did, as those of the Israelis, who do, are. Follow me?

I don't think that Muslims are "vermin" or "breed like rats" because I'm not worried about being blown up with one? Well it's true that I'm not really in any risk of being blown up by Arabs, but under your rubric, Arabic anti-Semitism is OK because Israelis keep killing Arabs, right?

Whatever, to dehumanize an enemy like this is to dehumanize yourself.
posted by delmoi at 5:14 PM on September 15, 2006


she made even Henry Kissinger ashamed of himself

That's the finest epitaph I've seen in many moons.
posted by pax digita at 6:44 PM on September 15, 2006


In her own words.
posted by semmi at 9:53 PM on September 15, 2006


I also find her anti-Arab sentiments to be quite disturbing.

Perhaps the difference is that Jews were piled into trains in 1940s Europe and murdered then and in pogroms before, while Muslims were not, and have not been — despite their many incoherent protestations in the Netherlands and elsewhere about how their culture is being destroyed by the West (while benefitting at the same time).

Within the European context, saying Muslims are "vermin" does not — cannot — carry the same historical weight as saying Jews are "vermin". The affect of the word is on an entirely different scale, literally, if not emotionally.

I don't agree with much of her fiery rhetoric, but on this score there isn't much of a serious comparison to be made. It is a Coulteresque firebomb, to be sure, but until mosques are subject to a Kristallnachtung and Muslims are packed into camps, etc., it's really not worth much more consideration than that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:55 AM on September 16, 2006


An interesting question is (assuming that rats do indeed breed rapidly), if Muslims were proven to have a statistically signifigant breeding advantage, could we say that they "breed like rats" then?
posted by adipocere at 9:02 AM on September 16, 2006


So, Blazecock, it was OK for the Nazis to call the Jews "vermin" and generally treat them as subhuman right up to the point they began killing them? I just want to be clear on where the lines are here.
posted by languagehat at 9:28 AM on September 16, 2006


but until mosques are subject to a Kristallnachtung and Muslims are packed into camps, etc., it's really not worth much more consideration than that.

Oh, OK. It's alright to be a racist son of a bitch, as long as the body pile hasn't reached a certain height. Kinda like an amusement ride. Thanks for the clarification.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:40 AM on September 16, 2006


It's alright to be a racist son of a bitch, as long as the body pile hasn't reached a certain height.

Or perhaps my point was that whoever is claiming offense shows a near complete and total ignorance of history and perspective by putting the rhetorical usage of "vermin" in these two wildly different contexts on the same pedestal. Thanks for the reinterpretation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:06 PM on September 16, 2006


thanks Civil_Disobedient, that sums it up pretty well.

fallaci didn't only call muslims vernim, she threadned to burn somalian refugee tents:

At times instead of those I saw an image that for me is symbolic (and therefore infuriating), of the great tent with which for three months a summer ago the Somali Moslems disfigured, defiled, and outraged the Piazza del Duomo in Florence. My city. It was a tent raised to blame, condemn and insult the Italian government that played host to them but didn't grant them the necessary papers to run around Europe and didn't let them bring hordes of their relatives into the country Mammas, daddies, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, pregnant sisters-in-law and even relatives of relatives.
...
With the yellow lines of urine was the stink of their shit which blocked the gate of San Salvatore al Vescovo: the exquisite Romanesque church (A.D. 1000) which sits on the shoulders of the Piazza del Duomo and which the sons of Allah had turned into a shithouse
...
I called a friendly cop who runs the security office and said, "Dear officer, I'm not a politician. When I say I'm going to do something, I do it. Moreover I have war experience and I'm wise to certain things. If you don't remove that frigging tent tomorrow, I'll burn it. I swear on my honor that I'll burn it, not even a regiment of carabinieri will be able to stop me, and I want to be arrested for this. Handcuffed and carried off to jail. I'll wind up in all the papers as a result."

posted by kolophon at 1:47 PM on September 16, 2006


i forgot to add the source, here's the original article:
La rabbia e l'orgoglio (Rage and Pride)
posted by kolophon at 1:49 PM on September 16, 2006


She does make a pretty good argument for burning that tent.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:17 PM on September 16, 2006


I'm not going to address her politics in this post.

I'm just going to say that I had -- and have -- an fierce crush on this crazy, incandescent woman. She had the most gorgeous eyes I've ever seen. Today's New York Times had a picture of her as a twentysomething and I sat there, at my favorite bar, and just stared at said photo. I drooled a little. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

("Hello? Hello? Sir? Would you like another Smuttynose?")

Oh, god. What a woman. Our planet is poorer without her. And so am I.
posted by jason's_planet at 6:21 PM on September 16, 2006


Is Islam a race now? It's so hard to keep up anymore.

Look, Christianity and Scientology are both roundly criticized and even ridiculed here on MeFi at practically every opportunity. I myself am happy to take shots at them when the chance arises. Why do Judaism and Islam get special treatment?

What if someone said "Those Mormons breed like rats" because, at least observationally to many people, Mormons tend to have several more than the U.S. average 2.1 children per family. Is that racist? They also wear special big-boy and big-girl magic Underoos.

I sincerely doubt there'd be a line of MeFites standing to defend Scientologists if I characterized them as "Money grubbing theiving rats". Oops. I used rats. Now I've somehow slighted them in equal measure to what the Jews suffered during the Holocaust, as well as insulted the Jews again via inference.

You people are too smart for this.

As I said above... all religions deserve all the criticism they get, and more. Why are some sacred cows? (Ooops! Sorry Hindus!)
posted by Ynoxas at 8:15 PM on September 17, 2006


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