Oriana Fallaci, one of the twentieth century’s toughest interviewers, who in her later years took to warning the West of the perils posed by militant Islam, has died in Florence. She was 77.
A woman of the left, known for her fearless interrogations of such powerful people as Henry Kissinger, Fallaci was widely reviled after her last book, “The Force of Reason.” Well, more than “reviled.”
Describing the book and its aftermath, Tunku Varadarajan wrote last year:
“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, Fallaci faces up to two years’ imprisonment for her beliefs – which is one reason why she has chosen to stay in New York. Let us give thanks for the First Amendment.”
Fallaci was an atheist. Her jeremiads came from a purely secular mentality, and, in a way, are therefore all the more compelling. She was a great journalist and a great woman. Do read all of Tunku’s piece.
Here is another snippet:
“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 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 attracted the ire of the judge in Bergamo and made her so radioactive in the eyes of Europe’s cultural elites.
“‘Civilisations die from suicide, not by murder,’ the historian Arnold Toynbee wrote, and these words could certainly be Fallaci’s. She is in a black gloom about Europe and its future: ‘The increased presence of Muslims in Italy, and in Europe, is directly proportional to our loss of freedom.'”
“There is about her a touch of Oswald Spengler, the German philosopher and prophet of decline, as well as a flavour of Samuel Huntington and his clash of civilisations. But above all there is pessimism, pure and unashamed. When I ask what ‘solution’ there might be to prevent the European collapse of which she speaks, she flares up like a lit match.”
We shall miss her flare.