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Oriana Fallaci Was One Tough Cookie at Trader’s Narrative

Oriana Fallaci Was One Tough Cookie

Unlike many journalists today, Oriana Fallaci never mistook being a journalist to mean that she shouldn’t tell the difference between right and wrong. Maybe it was because she had grown up under fascism and had seen Hitler when he rolled into her home town of Florence. Whatever the reason she was unshakeable in her support of individual freedoms, separation of church and state, democracy, and freedom of speech.

Perhaps the best story that encapsulates her spirit was her interview with Khomeini soon after the revolution of 1979. She was forced to conduct the interview while wearing a ‘chador’ covering her head, hair and most of her body.

Fallaci continued posing indignant questions about the treatment of women in the new Islamic state. 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.

In response Khomeini got up with surprising agility and left the room. She was made to wait a day or two before she could see him again to conclude her interview and was sternly told that she would under no circumstances revisit this topic. So of course when she was allowed to see him again the first thing she did was bring up the topic again.

Now contrast this interview to the smarmy and spineless ass-kissing that Mike Wallace engaged in recently with Ahmadinejad.

Oriana Fallaci

Oriana Fallaci 1929-2006

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2 Responses to “Oriana Fallaci Was One Tough Cookie”  

  1. 1 fabien

    Where is it possible to read this famous interview of Khomeyni. I’m searching it in french or in english. Thanks for your help.

  2. 2 NOVO

    Oriana was a tough cookie indeed. The punches she delivered were packed with oomph and bile, and must have produced vicious bruises on impact. But she could have produced a deeper and more lasting impact in the West and in Muslim countries and societies alike had she been less passionate and more poised in defending her cause.

    What is deplorable in her trilogy is not so much the way she flaunts her racism and her cultural egocentrism, but the rhetoric and shallowness that permeates her writings, unfailing telltales of a flagrant lack of research on the subject she purports to tackle.

    Had she done more serious research before writing, and had she been less hateful, less conceited and more tolerant, she would not have been Oriana and her books wouldn’t have been Orianesque, and I wouldn’t have read them with that startled quarter-smile one usually displays when watching immature adults go through a tantrum.

    And as readers of her books know, this Joan-of-Arc-wannabe lived in a quasi-permanent tantrum.

    I know Oriana no longer cares to respond to my comments, and I should not be taking advantage of this, but obviously, I am addressing these comments to her many disciples, all of whom are – or want to be – as outspoken as she was about the trilogy’s central theme.

    I’ll begin with this repulsing and at the same time endearing description of herself: A “christian atheist”, she says. Being an atheist is the endearing part of course.

    As a sincere atheist, Oriana stood against the church, a rotten and despicable institution to be sure. However, her blind hatred of Islam made her revert to the church she had rightfully loathed. In a way, she sought to have the degenerate institution act as her backstopper in her crusade against Islam. An alliance with the devil? Machiavelli reborn? What a shame to her decent past as a member of the Italian resistance!

    Allow me here, dear Oriana followers, to assure you that your ranting ‘lioness’ never defended the church from a moral standpoint, but she surely saw in that same church a potential defender and building bloc of the Western culture she is shielding. This is the crux of her writings and also the fault line in her logic.

    Here are five ideas that expose this fault line; these ideas double as research areas worth pursuing.

    First, Western culture is valuable to humanity, much more valuable than the Orianas of the world can fathom. It is valuable to the East as much as it is valuable to the West, not because I say so, but because mainstream Orientals, be they Muslim or non-Muslim admit this as the outcome of a historical process. So why degrade Western culture by seeking the church’s support? Does that culture really need the support of an institution with a gory past, a present reeking of debauchery, and an uncertain future at best?

    Second, Western culture flourishes, wins over, exercises influence, overpowers, and evolves toward universality only in tolerance and openness. This view is anathema to the retrograde religious institution that throughout more than 16 centuries has reveled in the power that bloodshed conferred to it.

    Third, in-depth research and analysis ought to be directed at the root cause of the rift that separates countries and cultures north and south of the Mediterranean, and the role of the Western religious institution in deepening that rift.

    Fourth, Oriana disciples ought not be misled into thinking that immigrants are invaders-settlers intent on colonizing Europe, or the European Union more precisely. Had Oriana been faithful to her communist past, she would have retained her analytical powers and would have understood this immigration issue from a radically different, much more serious, but much less dramatic perspective.

    The “what’s-their-name” as she calls them are just migrant menial laborers, the lumpen-proletariat of the authoritarian-totalitarian regimes in North Africa and other parts of that continent. Understandably, these regimes will, on any day, dump their social time-bombs on whatever country would accept them. Economic prosperity in countries of the European Union acts as a magnet to these armies of unemployed and dejectedly poor most of whom aspire to subsist on the bread line. To say that these carpetbaggers are the descendents of Attila intent on re-conquering Europe, is plainly comic, hence the charm of Oriana’s writings.

    What Oriana deplores really relates to internal policies within the Union and constituent states. Most of these states have foreign labor policies designed to meet the needs of their economies, immigration policies, and social policies, and have their own methods of maintaining law and order. Should the rest of the world care if the dish-washing, street-sweeping Attilas are able to prevent some European ‘democracy’ from having an efficient system of governance?

    Fifth, it is utterly confusing and deviant to base the criticism of Islam on church morals. I thought Oriana was on the right track when she skimmed through the Inquisition and its hordes criminal and obtuse prelates, but no, she drew the wrong conclusions and proved just as obtuse as the pontiffs who “sentenced her” to the stake.

    So, instead of drawing the right conclusions, she shoots off on a description of ancient gruesome wars and the sexual preferences of the Ottoman sultan Mehmet II.

    How many Mehmets II does the church harbor today, in the 21st century? How many corruptors of youth? How many prelates, aspiring prelates and foot soldiers in that religious hierarchy maintain retinues of whores and choir boys for their entertainment when they take time off from praying and singing. These frocked imbeciles parade their “vows” to mock the simpletons of their pitiful communities. Why don’t you investigate the identity of those who defend them and condone their corruption. I tell you even Mehmet II of the dark ages of humanity would have blushed at the deeds they perpetrate in this day and age.

    So please dear Fallacians, step down from the moral high grounds Oriana has hoisted you onto, lest you find yourselves in positions that are as ridiculous as they are indefensible.

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