Ms Oriana Fallaci, Mr Bin-Laden and the late Mr Zarqawi have something in common. No, it is not their scary faces and the fact that all are candidates for the grave, with Zarqawi recently downed by American missiles and the journalist Fallaci battling cancer. Rather it is their love for interviews, fatwas and explosive (read the New Yorker article ‘The Agitator’). As an academic, I would have not spent time writing this piece except for one reason: like Ms Fallaci, I am a Florentine myself. Florentines are famous for being adept sarcastic polemicists as well as viscerally politically incorrect. Ms Fallaci certainly is both. Tonight, I feel very Florentine.
As Margaret Talbot says in her New Yorker article, Ms Fallaci has been a formidable journalist and vivid writer, as well as a perennial Prima Donna, who would sometimes claim to refuse interviews and then make money out of them. However, Ms Fallaci has been a Prima Donna who did not have the decency of leaving the stage before her voice started squeaking. Definitely, she does not have the elegance of a Callas.
Read some of Fallaci’s first books and then the last one: are they written by the same author? Surely not. Fallaci’s last production is nothing short of a cry of anger against humanity, including children (preferably not western and white, but Mexican and Muslim). Her personal hate for those she calls “sons’ of Allah” is the perfect paradoxical synecdoche of her misanthropy (Allah means God, so that ‘sons of God’ is nothing else than humanity). She is also hypocritical in many respects. An example from the same interview proves the case. Reposting about one of her interview-adventures, Batwoman Fallaci tells us how she conquered the evil Joker Khomeini, who, just to stay in the realm of cartoon-land, possessed the last super-laughing weapon (Islamism) which would dangerously spread to destroy the West. So the feminist superwoman concludes her memories with these sharp comments, ‘Without Khomeini, we would not be where we are. What a pity that, when pregnant with him, his mother did not choose to have an abortion.’ When pregnant Fallaci, though unsure whether her child would have been a Khomeini or not, did. Yet, if her book was not just a stunt for her beloved audience, she regretted it in later life, as seen in her current anti-abortion stand.
Fallaci’s argument is so evidently fallacious that it seems needless to spend time to discredit it. Yet being a professor forces me to highlight that Fallaci’s argument is not original. In her third book The Apocalypse, Fallaci has argued that Muslim immigrants would transform Europe into “a colony of Islam,” that she calls “Eurabia,” which will soon “end up with minarets in place of the bell-towers, with the burka in place of the mini-skirt.” This is pure plagiarism, since the owner of such apocalyptic, yet phantomatic, vision is the legendary Bat Ye‘or, the Madame Mim of dhimmitude (for a critique of this idea you can read Chapter 8 in my book Jihad Beyond Islam). Not only has Fallaci lost her vaunted beauty which Margaret Talbot exalts, but also her fantasy, probably worn-out by her practice of sexing up earlier reports from Vietnam. (Those who read Italian may sample those by clicking here.)
Back to our fallacious bombarola (i.e., a person, often an anarchist, who plant bombs), Ms Fallaci has set up a plan to bomb a new mosque to be built near one of her villa in Tuscany, in her own words: “And they want to build damn mosques everywhere.” 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 jump 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! ”
I know by experience ( part of my family lives in Carrara and some are Anarchists) that the Anarchists of Carrara would prefer to burn the beloved Fallaci’s American flag as well as her right-wing concept of the West, but this is Ms Fallaci at her typical journalistic worst. Since she cannot express her violent thoughts effectively any longer with a sharp pen (she has lost the ability to be convincing), she goes to the extreme of shooting out explosive criminal words. Each interview shows her mind more feeble, although the half-dead Fallaci still garners an income just by being herself. Journalists have to pay for interviews with the super-heroine, and there are always customers who buy her books just because of the name.
But is the adept bombarola worried to end up in prison? No, for two main reasons. Some in Italy wish to name her as a ‘Senator for Life’, in which case she would not enter prison even if she were to bomb a mosque with Muslims still inside. Shades of Caligula in modern Italian politics. For a second reason, we can leave Fallaci to speak for herself, “If they were thinking to give me three years in jail, I will say or do something for which they give me nine years! I am capable of everything if I get angry.” Everything, it would seem, but making sense.
But she is also capable of contradicting herself by agreeing with fellow bigger-than-life, comic book icons like Bat-Bin-Laden and Robin-Zarqawi on many points. Thanks to Margaret Talbot, we now know that she is opposed to abortion, unless she “were raped and made pregnant by a Bin Laden or a Zarqawi.” She is fiercely opposed to gay marriage (“In the same way that the Muslims would like us all to become Muslims, they would like us all to become homosexuals”), and suspicious of immigration in general. The demonstrations by immigrants in the United States these past few months “disgust” her, especially when protesters displayed the Mexican flag. “I don’t love the Mexicans,” Fallaci said, invoking her rude treatment at the hands of Mexican police in 1968. “If you hold a gun and say, ‘Choose who is worse between the Muslims and the Mexicans,’ I have a moment of hesitation. Then I choose the Muslims, because they have broken my balls.”
Bin-Laden certainly, as well as Zarqawi, would oppose abortion (and I am sure that if made pregnant by Fallaci they would also have argued for an exception); they for sure share her rabid homophobia, and, notably Zarqawi, tended to cut the throats of any Yankee or Westerner who decided to try labour immigration into occupied Iraq.
As far as Fallaci’s last sentence, not only both Bin-Laden and Zarqawi would agree but they in fact have been following suit. The men she hates so much have killed and are killing thousand of Muslims because they think these ordinary Muslims have broken their scary, more than hairy, balls. It is arguable that Bin-Laden and Zarqawi do not have balls, since they would never conduct the suicide operations they sanction personally. Definitely, in this nightmare scenario Ms Fallaci as Batwoman has finally found a cave to share with Batman and Robin.