Thursday, December 01, 2005

Oriana Fallaci Speaks

Some interesting things have popped up on Sandro Magister's Settimo cielo in recent days....

First off, Oriana Fallaci -- the noted superconservative atheist Italian writer who shared an evening with Benedict XVI at Castelgandolfo over the summer -- made some notable remarks in New York the other night as she received the Center for the Study of Popular Culture's Annie Taylor award.

Apparently, and I didn't know this, Fallaci's high-octane statements on Islam have earned her a fatwa. Then again, if you hang around St. Blog's long enough, you can collect a boatload of those if you hit the right pressure points.

Anyway, she spoke of her meeting with B16 in positively glowing terms. (All translations from the Italian are my own.) In her own words:
[Benedict is] a pope who has loved my work from when he read 'Letter to an unborn child' and whom I respect from reading his intelligent books. But what is more, he is a pope with whom I've agreed with on many occasions. For example, when I wrote that the East has developed a sort of self-hatred, that it no longer loves itself but has lost its spirituality and risks also losing its identity. (This is exactly what I wrote when I wrote that the East has been stricken by a moral and intellectual cancer. In reality, I meant to note: 'If a pope and an atheist say the same thing, there really must be something to this.')

New parenthesis: I am an atheist, yes. An atheist-Christian, as I've underlined, but an atheist. And Pope Ratzinger knows it quite well: in 'The Force of Reason' I dedicated an entire chapter to explaining the apparent paradox of this self-definition. But do you know what the Pope says to atheists like me? He says: 'Okay (the okay is mine, naturally), then allora veluti se Deus daretur. Act as if God might exist.' [Comportati come se Dio esista.] Words from which we can deduce that the religious community is a people more open and intelligent than the lay community to which I belong. People so open and intelligent that they don't even try, don't even dream, of saving my soul (I mean to say, of converting me). This is also the reason for which I affirm that, in selling itself to theocratic Islam, the lay world has lost the most important appointment given it by history. And in doing so, it has opened a void, an abyss, that only the spiritual is able to replenish. This is also the reason for which, in the Church of today, I see an unexpected partner, an unexpected ally. In Ratzinger and in whoever accepts my own worrisome independence of thought and of behavior, I see a companion on the journey. And so, we've been brought together, this intelligent, just, fine man, [Ratzinger] and I. Free of ceremony, of formality, one on one in his study at Castel Gandolfo, we spoke for a little while. And we expected that this unprofessional encounter would remain a secret. In my own obsession with privacy I hoped it would be so. But the voices leaked it....
As she does, Fallaci then focused on Islam
I do not believe in dialogue with Islam. Because I maintain that a dialogue of its kind is but a monologue, a soliloquy nourished by our own ingenuity or unspoken desperation. (And because on this point I strongly disagree with Pope Ratzinger when he insists on this monologue with unguarded hope. Once more, Holy Father: I, too, would like a world where all love all and none hate none. But the enemy is here. And it has no intention of dialogue -- not with you, not with us.)
Wow. Strong words, eh? Here's more:
She described how, since 9/11, the whole of Europe has become a “Niagara Falls of McCarthyism” – with the new Grand Inquisitors of the Left persecuting and victimizing all others. “In Europe, we too have our Ward Churchills, our Noam Chomskys, our Michael Moores, our Lewis Farrakhans.” And they are doing immense damage to the unity, will and cultural identity of the people. In Europe as in America, the new thought police ban Christmas observances to avoid offending Muslims; history is rewritten to depict Islam as having built a civilization of peace and mercy (regardless of the preponderance of evidence to the contrary), while Europe’s own Judeo-Christian civilization is regarded as “a spark of a cigarette – gone.” A spent force. In Leftist-controlled municipalities, police stand idly by while Muslim hooligans demonstrate their contempt for European society and culture by urinating upon and otherwise desecrating churches. Fallaci: “This is considered ‘freedom of expression’ – unless the offense is committed against Muslims.”

Meanwhile, the “religion of peace” myth and other falsehoods that interfere with our ability to defend ourselves are propagated aggressively by elected officials, the media, the Hollywood elite, and the justice system. Defenders of freedom are stripped of credibility and denied the means to get their message across. Or if they do get it across, they are not believed. “I really feel as a Cassandra,” said Fallaci, “or as one of the forgotten anti-fascists.” Yet she wears the Left’s attacks with defiant pride. “Since I wrote the trilogy (La Rabbia e l’Orgoglio (The Rage and the Pride), La Forza della Ragione (The Force of Reason), and L’Apocalisse (The Apocalypse), my real medals are the insults I get from the new McCarthyists.”

Fallaci told the audience that she faced three years in prison in Italy if convicted in her trial for hate speech. “But can hate be prosecuted by law? It is a sentiment. It is a natural part of life. Like love, it cannot be proscribed by a legal code. It can be judged, but only on the basis of ethics and morality. If I have the right to love, then I have the right to hate also.”

Hate? “Yes, I do hate the bin Ladens and the Zarqawis. I do hate the bastards who burn churches in Europe. I hate the Chomskys and Moores and Farrakhans who sell us to the enemy. I hate them as I used to hate Mussolini and Hitler. For the cause of freedom, this is my sacrosanct right.”

What’s more, Fallaci pointed out that Europe’s hate speech laws never seem to be used against the “professional haters, who hate me much more than I hate them”: the Muslims who hate as part of their ideology. While Fallaci faces three years in prison in Italy, “any Muslim can unhook a crucifix from a wall in a school or hospital and throw it into the garbage,” with little fear of consequences. Also unprosecuted, she said, were those responsible for a vile little publication entitled Islam Punishes Oriana Fallaci, which urges Muslims to kill her, invoking five Qur’anic passages about “perverse women.” In Italy Fallaci must be guarded around the clock; but no effort has been made to bring those who threatened her to justice.