The Economist offers this appraisal of the literary journey of Oriana Fallaci.
There is nothing al-Qaeda would like more than for Europeans to turn on Muslims in their midst, uniting fundamentalist militants with those who are neither fundamentalist nor militant. In that sense, Osama bin Laden won yet another victory this week with the publication of another hate-filled, anti-Islamic diatribe by an Italian writer who has become noted for such diatribes: Oriana Fallaci. Over the past three years, the 76-year-old Ms Fallaci has carved out a role as the voice of what might be a new European racism ....
The Digital Divide warns us in particular against her new book "Il Nemico che Trattiamo da Amico" (The Enemy we Treat as a Friend).
Excerpts from Oriana Fallaci's "Il Nemico che Trattiamo da Amico" (The Enemy We Treat as a Friend") are being circulated online: they make it seem like a manifesto in "Defence of the Christian Western World", which was so dear to the colonels who imposed their dictatorship upon Greece in 1967-74. However, the full article (1) irresistibly evokes Louis-Ferdinand Céline's Bagatelles pour un massacre, in a more violent tone: same stereotyping, same obsessiveness, same rambling prolixity praised as literary talent by their fans. But Céline's writing was more controlled.
As a consequence of her writing, the Guardian reports Fallaci may be in real trouble.
A radical Muslim leader, Adel Smith, told the Guardian he was bringing a civil action for damages against the writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci. He has already succeeded in getting Ms Fallaci committed for trial next year in criminal proceedings for blasphemy. Last month a judge in the northern Italian city of Bergamo agreed that the 76-year-old Ms Fallaci should answer to claims of abusing Islam in her book The Strength of Reason. Since then, her cause has become a rallying point for mainly rightwing intellectuals and politicians in Italy and the US, where Ms Fallaci lives.
Article continues Mr Smith said he would be seeking damages for libel on the grounds that the author had claimed in a recent essay that he had issued death threats against her. Ms Fallaci, who is ill with cancer, could not be contacted for comment.
"The Enemy We Treat as a Friend" does not seem to be posted online, except in Italian. But a circulated email contains extensive excerpts in English translation, parts of which are quoted below without vouching for the accuracy of translation. (Hat tip: K) Fallaci seems to take the position that a hostile civilization has entered Europe and that the clashes cannot long be delayed. She finds scant difference between 'moderates' and 'extremists' in "The Enemy we Treat as a Friend". Fallaci argues that her warnings to a city under siege have been vindicated by events yet society refuses to see what this implies.
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 ... 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. ... 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. ... 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 ...
Will the massacre touch us too? - will it really touch us the next time? Oh, yes. I haven't the slightest doubt. I've never had the slightest doubt. I've been saying this, too, for the last four years. And I add: They have not yet attacked us [only] because of their need for a landing zone, a bridgehead, a handy outpost named "Italy." ... But soon, they will go on a rampage. Bin Laden himself has promised it - explicitly, clearly, precisely. ...
To all appearances Fallaci pulls out the stops and regards Islam itself as an imperalistic enterprise, bent on conquest and incapable of coexistence with others. In her phrase it has obtained "a bridgehead" in preparation for further advances. The Belmont Club pointed out that the problem with this argument is that Muslims themselves are the most frequent victims of Jihadi violence; and the second that Muslims comprise the most numerous allies of America against organizations like the Al Qaeda. By turning Islam into a black box, the inside of which we are unable to understand or alter, Fallaci dooms the conflict into an external clash between two irreconciliably opposed civilizations. There is no significant room for an Islamic liberation movement. Fallaci expects nothing from within Islam itself. The "bridgehead" builds from Islam outward. No counter-landing is possible within the Ummah.
But even if Europe finally confronts "the monster with honor, courage; and by remembering the words that Churchill said to the English when he went to war against Hitler's Nazism," as Fallaci puts it, the history of the Balkans suggests that the West would pay a price so high it would be wounded for centuries. Medieval Serbia was once a pinnacle of Europe in the mid-14th century. But after their defeat by the Ottomans Serbia fragmented into brooding ethnic enclaves. And in the end it was not defeat which they could not transcend, but the smallness of mind which they learned day by day, in the atmosphere of unending mutual suspicion. Serbia never rose to its height again.
Since the Ottoman Empire was an Islamic theocratic state, Christian Serbs lived as virtual bond servants - abused, humiliated and exploited. Consequently they gradually abandoned the developed and urban centers where mining, crafts and trade was practiced and withdrew to hostile mountains living on cattle breeding and modest farming. ... This historical defeat of this Christian Empire against the invading Muslims has however, produced numerous legends, poems and stories that have preserved the Serbian distinct nationality for the centuries to come under Muslim rule, with the Serbian Orthodox Church being the "guardian of the medieval times".
The danger of waiting until the cultural divisions grow too great within the West is that any struggle fought to preserve its values is bound to destroy them in the cataclysm. Mark Steyn shows how the process of destroying tolerance in order to save it is already happening.
That's the great thing about multiculturalism: it doesn't involve knowing anything about other cultures ... Instead, it just involves feeling warm and fluffy, making bliss out of ignorance. And one notices a subtle evolution in multicultural pieties since the Islamists came along. It was most explicitly addressed by the eminent British lawyer Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws, QC, who thought that it was too easy to disparage "Islamic fundamentalists". "We as western liberals too often are fundamentalist ourselves. We don't look at our own fundamentalisms." And what exactly would those western liberal fundamentalisms be? "One of the things that we are too ready to insist upon is that we are the tolerant people and that the intolerance is something that belongs to other countries like Islam. And I'm not sure that's true."
Hmm. Kennedy appears to be arguing that our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people's intolerance, which is intolerable. Thus the lop-sided valse macabre of our times: the more the Islamists step on our toes, the more we waltz them gaily round the room. ... tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists.
The saddest thing about Steyn's brilliant essay is that he understands that multiculturalists don't even want to know Muslims as people; whether they bleed from car bombs; whether they look up at the sky and long to rise with the wind. Those who would disparage Oriana Fallaci's monolithic portrayal of Muslims should remember how happy some Liberals are to have Muslims as cardboard cutout figures on their own dilapidated historical stage. When on September 12 President Bush vowed "to find those folks who committed this act" -- many commentators laughed at the word "folks" -- he may have intuitively understood that the War on Terror would be waged not only on the battlefield, but for the hearts of men. But it is precisely this redemptive aspect which we are so unwilling to believe in; so willing to mock. I think Auden came nearest our own opinion of ourselves in his classic poem, September 1, 1939.
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return. ...
Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good. ...
The first requirement of survival is to become worthy of it.