Friday, September 15, 2006

Oriana Fallaci

I had the privilege of listening to a lecture by Oriana Fallaci at Harvard sometime in 1983. I realize now that she was 53 and it must have been at around that time that the picture below was taken because that is precisely how I remember her. I can't recall the subject of the lecture, but I have an intense memory of her leaning forward on the podium smoking a cigarette (incessantly) and removing the thin, dark jacket she was wearing to hang it on a nearby chair. I never saw her again.


A few months ago, a friend in Manhattan attended what must have been one of her last public appearances. By then she was 76 and very sick of cancer. And still she spoke, through the written word and at small gatherings. And this time I paid attention, not to a woman in the autumn of her beauty, but to a warrior in the fullness of her strength. At the time of her death Oriana Fallaci was facing a suit in Italy for daring to suggest that her country and culture were under threat from radical Islam. In her youth she did not bow to Hitler; and in her old age she hurled defiance at yet another tyranny. The darkness came and yet the darkness claimed her not.


Blogger Quig said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/15/2006 04:15:00 AM  
Blogger Quig said...

I knew her only through her words.

A truly beautiful woman. In every sense.

9/15/2006 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Oh she's dead. I didn't know that. How sad. And what an immense loss. We will come to need her voice and her courage.

Also somewhat telling that it coincides with Islamic rage against Pope Benedict's words against Islamic violence. She was a great admirer of Pope Benedict XVI. Me too actually. The Pope may turn me Catholic yet.

9/15/2006 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

I too saw nothing about her death in the media or on the internet. She was a great woman and I hope she's giving St. Peter et al. fits up there beyond the Pearly Gates.

9/15/2006 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

The passing of a Cindy Sheehan or other such leftist kook would cause a media storm; vigils by the Dems in Congress, etc.

Not a word anywhere except by our resolute host about this courageous woman's passing.

Well done faithful servant.

9/15/2006 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger NooYawkah said...

In one of her on-line biographies I found this:
"An atheist, she had great admiration for Pope Benedict XVI (whom she still called 'Ratzinger') for his recognition of the Muslim threat to the West."

Apparently the Pope is making his opinions known.

9/15/2006 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger WildMonk said...

A great loss. I truly wish we could have had at least another decade of her courage and clarity.

9/15/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

In death, she defeated the Italian prosecutors that wanted to prevent her from speaking out against the encroaching Islamization of Europe. In denying justice, justice was served.

My blog is down right now (arrgghhh!), but I did post the first five pages of her last book a few months ago.

9/15/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Fausta said...

Beautiful post.

9/15/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Flights of angles carry thee to thy rest.

9/15/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger pst314 said...

"I too saw nothing about her death in the media"

It was very briefly mentioned this morning on Chicago's WGN-AM radio station. They described her as having been "controversial" in recent years, without saying what it was (her opposition to Islamic fascism) that made her so. Funny that this would be controversial, seeing as there's nothing controversial about opposing German fascism....

9/15/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Darren Mallory said...

Has she Died? Never knew that she had passed away.

A brilliant brilliant woman

Financial Blog

9/15/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...


A very moving post. You honor her well.

Thank you.

9/15/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

I read of Oriana Fallaci's death with some sadness. She was an honest and courageous leftist (almost a contradiction). The only other major leftist that I know of with a moral integrity approaching her's is Christopher Hitchens. Fallaci wrote brilliantly and her insights will be missed. If our civilization is to survive the 21st century, we'll need more people like Oriana Fallaci.

9/15/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...

A beautiful post, Wretchard.

It is worth noting that while Oriana was from the other side of the political fence from you and most of your blog flock, she deserves to be honored for her own lifelong courageousness and not merely for having the cojones to speak about against Islamic fascism.

9/15/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

The President looked and sounded resolute. McCain and Warner should be feel'n some heat from their base.Let's hope so.

The subtext, actually it's practically the nexis of this entire problem is having the USA work within organizations and conventions that are manifestly unable to cope with a post Cold War environment.
For the US citizen to believe that he or she must subordinate our Constitution to transient and lesser documents is an abomination.
The Geneva Conventions date to 1859 with periodic protocols added, but influenced by nations with no history of democracy close to the United States or no history of democracy period.(ask any current resident of Abu G. who he'd like in charge) That Convention is not followed by most of the warring nations of this world and to hold us up to it is an insult to our entire history of moving mankind forward, with greater freedoms that ever in history.
Similarly the United Nations is clearly venal and corrupt. It's usefulness is now simply to have the United States pay the freight to be insulted.
This nations performed quite well dealing unilaterally with one nation at a time and should do so again, abandoning an organization as diaphanously meretricious as the UN.
We do ourselves and the world no favors by supporting these two relics. Leadership requires us to do this or forfeit our own rights.

9/15/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger ppab said...

A volley from Merkel

Our leaders are busy with these here culture wars. Looks like were ramping up war-time production on the ideas and all.

Ideas are far cheaper than those F22s, you know? Just gotta deploy the right ones in the right way.

Various blogs seem to have the potential to be cultural LMTs. Couldn't happen sooner, that's for certain.

9/15/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Oriana Fallaci?

I’ve yet to come across any of her writing online.

9/15/2006 02:34:00 PM  

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