Wednesday, June 29

Oriana Fallaci on Eurabia

Following is adapted from "An interview with Oriana Fallaci", by Tunku Varadarajan, in Opinion Journal, June 23, 2005

Renowned Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci faces jail. In her mid-70s, stricken with cancer, she's been indicted by an Italian judge under a bizarre Italian law that bans the "vilification" of "any religion admitted by the state."

The religion Fallaci is accused of vilifying is Islam, apparently in a book she wrote last year called "The Force of Reason," in which she argues that Europe is fast becoming "Eurabia"--a colony of Islam. As a result, she now faces up to two years' imprisonment.

The book, by the way, has sold well over a million copies in Europe.

An activist judge in Italy accepted a complaint against Ms. Fallaci that even the local prosecutors would not touch. The complainant, one Adel Smith--who, despite his name, is Muslim, and an incendiary public provocateur--is believed to be behind the publication of a pamphlet suggesting that Muslims "eliminate" her.

Ms. Fallaci doesn't like what she's seeing in 'Eurabia.' "Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept of liberty." Such words--"invaders," "colony," "Eurabia"--are deeply Politically Incorrect, and one speculates that it's her tone that has drawn the ire of the Italian judge (and has made her so radioactive in the eyes of Europe's cultural elites).

Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder," and these words could be Ms. Fallaci's. She is deeply pessimistic about Europe's future.

One of the things that torments her is the blithe way in which the West is marching toward the precipice. "Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! They don't know who Churchill was! She wonders where all the conservatives have gone in Europe.

"You cannot survive if you do not know the past. We know why other civilizations have collapsed--from an excess of richness, and from lack of morality, of spirituality. The moment you give up your principles and your values...the moment you laugh at those principles and those values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead."

When Pope Benedict XVI was a cardinal, he wrote an essay titled "If Europe Hates Itself," from which Ms. Fallaci quotes: "The West reveals...a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological. In its own history it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure."

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