Oriana Fallaci, dead at 77

posted at 11:10 am on September 15, 2006 by Allahpundit

The boss remembers. Dan Collins says she “was in some respects the Christopher Hitchens of Italy,” a description Hitch would not appreciate.

I read “The Rage and the Pride” a few years ago and wasn’t a fan of it myself, for reasons Hitchens articulates. The New Yorker ran a mostly flattering profile of her in May of this year that included this passage, which captures the tenor of “Rage” pretty well:

She spoke of a new mosque and Islamic center planned for Colle di Val d’Elsa, near Siena. She vowed that it would not remain standing. “If I’m alive, I will go to my friends in Carrara—you know, where there is the marble. They are all anarchists. With them, I take the explosives. I make you juuump in the air. I blow it up! With the anarchists of Carrara. I do not want to see this mosque—it’s very near my house in Tuscany. I do not want to see a twenty-four-metre minaret in the landscape of Giotto. When I cannot even wear a cross or carry a Bible in their country! So I BLOW IT UP!”

She didn’t blow it up, though. Unlike the enemy, when it came to Islam, her bomb-throwing was strictly rhetorical. Indeed, Fallaci’s vogue these last few years was, I think, a reaction to western leaders mindlessly chanting “Islam means peace” even as it becomes increasingly clear that huge swaths of Muslims have a decidedly nuanced view of what “peace” might mean. If even the great crusader Bush won’t take sides in the cartoon jihad, don’t be surprised that there’s a market for Fallaci. Western culture needs champions; if she was more boorish about it than some of us would like, well, it’s better than nothing. From the New Yorker:

Fallaci’s virtues are the virtues that shine most brightly in stark circumstances: the ferocious courage, and the willingness to say anything, that can amount to a life force. But Fallaci never convinced me that Europe’s encounter with immigration is that sort of circumstance.

Not that it would matter to her. “You’ve got to get old, because you have nothing to lose,” she said over lunch that afternoon. “You have this respectability that is given to you, more or less. But you don’t give a damn. It is the ne plus ultra of freedom. And things that I didn’t used to say before—you know, there is in each of us a form of timidity, of cautiousness—now I open my big mouth. I say, ‘What are you going to do to me? You go fuck yourself—I say what I want.’ ”

As rallying cries go, you can do worse than that. RIP.

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if she was more boorish about it than some of us would like, well, it’s better than nothing.

As rallying cries go, you can do worse than that. RIP

You are with God now Orianna. Pray for the rest of us.

labwrs on September 15, 2006 at 11:22 AM

She will be long remembered. Bless You Orianna.
A legacy that can continue to give. That too, is special.
I wonder how long we will continue to learn from her? It’s up to us. She has given us some tools and thoughts, will we listen and chose how to use them?

shooter on September 15, 2006 at 11:36 AM

Her interviews with some of the fascinating figures of our time are jewels. Brave and gutsy lady.

honora on September 15, 2006 at 11:56 AM

She may be dead in body, but her memory and spirit will live on. Western Civilization couldn’t have asked for a better and more outspoken defender. She pissed a lot of people off and scared others, but like her Florentine bretheren Niccolo Machiavelli, she wasn’t afraid to see the unvarnished truth or to openly speak it – even knowing that most people can’t handle it.

Thank you and God Bless you, Orianna.

HotAir readers, you should pay homage to her by reading both ‘The Rage and the Pride’ and ‘The Force of Reason’. Not only for her though, but for yourself as well.

thirteen28 on September 15, 2006 at 12:01 PM

Having had too many deaths in my family, including losing my mother to cancer when I was 13, I’ve grown to accept death easier than others and to not cry often over it.

I cry for you Orianna, not for your physical death, but for warning us of our blinders toward our biggest losses yet to come. Really then, I cry for us.

Entelechy on September 15, 2006 at 12:36 PM

‘You go fuck yourself—I say what I want.’

Ciao, bella.

violet on September 15, 2006 at 12:41 PM

I’m reading The Force of Reason now. If things ever get as ridiculous here as they are in Italy (well, Europe), I can see a lot of people getting boorish. And probably quite a bit beyond boorish, too!

MamaAJ on September 15, 2006 at 1:03 PM

Godspeed, Signora Fallaci.

Pablo on September 15, 2006 at 1:08 PM

“I can imagine a no more rewarding career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worth while, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.'” President John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the U.S. Naval Academy, 8/1/63

Oriana Fallaci showed us, by her example, the honorable way in the 21st century: she refused to submit.


Very nice obituary AP. Steyn might call you if he needs someone to cover his obituary column at the Atlantic.

MarcH on September 15, 2006 at 1:43 PM

She was clear-eyed on the big issues of this young century. She will be missed.


chsw on September 15, 2006 at 1:46 PM

Ive read ‘The Rage and the Pride’ and ‘The Force of Reason’ – she is very articulate in her writing and doesn’t pull any punches.

She will definately be missed.

Does anyone know when The Apocalypse (the third book will be out in English? It is available in Italian. As I recall she did her own Italian to English translations.

CrazyFool on September 15, 2006 at 2:11 PM

Oh wow… So sad. I have read several of her books. I would like to suggest “A Man”.
I will miss her terribly. The way she wrote… I will never forget her discription of a priest where she said “the Catholic chuch has given you everything, all the way down to the underpants you are wearing!”

Babs on September 15, 2006 at 3:32 PM

It figures that when we need the west to show some balls, we have to turn to a female leader. Fitting on the day Fallaci died.

AP wrote in an update to the “Turkish bestseller…” thread.

I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Oriana Fallaci. Well done!

Entelechy on September 15, 2006 at 4:57 PM

From a June 23, 2005 WSJ article:

[Fallaci] professes to “cry, sometimes, because I’m not 20 years younger…”

I shed a tear for you, and for ourselves at your passing Lioness of Florence.

zb42 on September 15, 2006 at 5:55 PM

No one’s death has hit me so strongly since president Reagan died as Fallaci’s has. In her post-9/11 work we were witnessing Greatness among us. It is such a rare, rare thing. She was showing us how we should all be the best soldiers we can in the war. I’ve always admired fearlessness, but this woman defined the word. She earned the eternal hate of our Islamic enemies, and our deep love.

Halley on September 16, 2006 at 1:01 AM

Does anyone know where I can find a link to the interview she did with Kissinger?

honora on September 18, 2006 at 10:45 AM