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A Tribute To Legendary Italian Journalist Oriana Fallaci

(YOUTUBE) IN MEMORIA DI ORIANA FALLACI

(YOUTUBE) ORIANA FALLACI – di Andrea Pamparana

Oriana Fallaci (29 June 1929 – 15 September 2006) was an Italian journalist, author, and political interviewer. A former partisan during World War II, she had a long and successful journalistic career.

She interviewed many internationally known leaders and celebrities such as the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Dalai Lama, Henry Kissinger, the Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, Deng Xiaoping, Willy Brandt, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Walter Cronkite, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Federico Fellini, Sammy Davis Jr, Nguyen Cao Ky, Yasir Arafat, Indira Gandhi, Alexandros Panagoulis, Archbishop Makarios III, Golda Meir, Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, Haile Selassie, Sean Connery and Lech Wałęsa.

After retirement, she returned to the spotlight after writing a series of articles and books critical of Islam and Arabs that aroused both support as well as controversy and accusations of racism and intolerance.

Life and career

The Resistance Movement

Fallaci was born in Florence, Italy.

During World War II, she joined the resistance despite her youth, in the democratic armed group “Giustizia e Libertà”.

Her father Edoardo Fallaci, a cabinet maker in Florence, was a political activist struggling to put an end to the dictatorship of Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. It was during this period that Fallaci was first exposed to the atrocities of war.

She later received a certificate for valour from the Italian army.

In a 1976 retrospective collection of her works, she remarked that:

Whether it comes from a despotic sovereign or an elected president, from a murderous general or a beloved leader, I see power as an inhuman and hateful phenomenon. . . . I have always looked on disobedience toward the oppressive as the only way to use the miracle of having been born.

Beginning as a journalist

Fallaci began her journalistic career in her teens, becoming a special correspondent for the Italian paper Il mattino dell’Italia centrale in 1946.

Starting in 1967 she worked as a war correspondent, in Vietnam, for the Indo-Pakistani War, in the Middle East, and in South America.

Photo : Oriana Fallaci meets Deng Xiaoping in 1980

1960s

For many years, Fallaci was a special correspondent for the political magazine L’Europeo and wrote for a number of leading newspapers and Epoca magazine. During the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, prior to the 1968 Summer Olympics, Fallaci was shot three times, dragged down stairs by her hair, and left for dead by Mexican forces.

In a profile of Fallaci, The New Yorker described her former support of the student activists as having “devolved into a dislike of Mexicans”:

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 nasty 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.”

Photo : Oriana Fallaci, interviewing Ayatollah Khomeini in September 1979

1970s

In the early 1970s Fallaci had an affair with the subject of one of her interviews, Alexandros Panagoulis, who had been a solitary figure in the Greek resistance against the 1967 dictatorship, having been captured, heavily tortured and imprisoned for his (unsuccessful) assassination attempt on dictator and ex-Colonel Georgios Papadopoulos. Panagoulis died in 1976, under controversial circumstances, in a road accident. Fallaci maintained that Panagoulis was assassinated by remnants of the Greek military junta and her book Un Uomo (A Man) was inspired by his life.

During her 1972 interview with Henry Kissinger, Kissinger agreed that the Vietnam War was a “useless war” and compared himself to “the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse.”

Kissinger later wrote that it was “the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press.”

During her 1979 interview with Ayatollah Khomeini, she addressed him as a “tyrant” and managed to unveil herself from the chador:

OF- I still have to ask you a lot of things. About the “chador,” for example, which I was obliged to wear to come and interview you, and which you impose on Iranian women. […] I am not only referring to the dress but to what it represents, I mean the apartheid Iranian women have been forced into after the revolution. They cannot study at the university with men, they cannot work with men, they cannot swim in the sea or in a swimming-pool with men. They have to do everything separately, wearing their “chador.” By the way, how can you swim wearing a “chador”?
AK- None of this concerns you, our customs do not concern you. If you don’t like the islamic dress you are not obliged to wear it, since it is for young women and respectable ladies.
OF- This is very kind of you, Imam, since you tell me that, I’m going to immediately rid myself of this stupid medieval rag. There !.

Photo : JFK & Jackie (By Oriana Fallaci)

Retirement

Living in New York and in a house she owned in Tuscany, Fallaci lectured at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Harvard University, and Columbia University.

After 9/11

After September 11, 2001, beginning with The Rage and the Pride (initially a four-page article in Corriere della Sera, the major national newspaper in Italy), Fallaci wrote three books critical of Islamic extremists and Islam in general, and in both writing and interviews warned that Europe was too tolerant of Muslims.

She wrote that “sons of Allah breed like rats” and in a Wall Street Journal interview in 2005, said that Europe was no longer Europe but “Eurabia.”

The Rage and The Pride and The Force of Reason both became best-sellers.

Fallaci was a life-long heavy smoker. She died on September 15, 2006 in her native Florence from cancer.

Awards

Fallaci twice received the St. Vincent Prize for journalism, as well as the Bancarella Prize (1971) for Nothing, and So Be It; Viareggio Prize (1979), for Un uomo: Romanzo; and Prix Antibes, 1993, for Inshallah. She received a D.Litt. from Columbia College (Chicago).

On November 30, 2005 in New York, Fallaci received the Annie Taylor Award for courage from the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. She was honored for the “heroism and the values” that rendered her “a symbol of the fight against Islamic fascism and a knight of the freedom of humankind.” The Annie Taylor Award is annually awarded to people who have demonstrated unusual courage in adverse conditions and great danger. David Horowitz, founder of the center, described Fallaci as “a General in the fight for freedom.”

On December 8, 2005 Oriana Fallaci was awarded the Ambrogino d’oro, the highest recognition of the city of Milan.

Acting on a proposal by Minister of Education Letizia Moratti, on December 14, 2005 the President of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, awarded Oriana Fallaci a Gold Medal for her cultural contributions (Benemerita della Cultura). The state of her health prevented her from attending the ceremony.

She wrote in a speech: “This gold medal moves me because it gratifies my efforts as writer and journalist, my front line engagement to defend our culture, love for my country and for freedom. My current well known health situation prevents me from traveling and receiving in person this gift that for me, a woman not used to medals and not too keen on trophies, has an intense ethical and moral significance.”

On February 12, 2006, the Governor of Tuscany, Riccardo Nencini, awarded Fallaci a gold medal from the Council of Tuscany.

Quotes and quotations by Oriana Fallaci

Arafat contradicts himself every five minutes. He always plays the double-cross, lies even if you ask him what time it is.
Oriana Fallaci

Europe is no longer Europe, it is Eurabia, a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense.
Oriana Fallaci

Glory is a heavy burden, a murdering poison, and to bear it is an art. And to have that art is rare.
Oriana Fallaci

Have you ever thought that war is a madhouse and that everyone in the war is a patient?
Oriana Fallaci

Heroes can be sweet.
Oriana Fallaci

How do you dare to ask me for a solution? It’s like asking Seneca for a solution. You remember what he did? He committed suicide!
Oriana Fallaci

I am a danger to myself if I get angry.
Oriana Fallaci

I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true. There must be some human truth that is beyond religion.
Oriana Fallaci

I am disgusted by the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans.
Oriana Fallaci

I am known for a life spent in the struggle for freedom, and freedom includes the freedom of religion.
Oriana Fallaci

I cry, sometimes, because I’m not 20 years younger, and I’m not healthy. But if I were, I would even sacrifice my writing to enter politics.
Oriana Fallaci

I defend Israel’s right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let themselves be exterminated a second time.
Oriana Fallaci

I didn’t want to kill a man. I’m not capable of killing a man. I wanted to kill a tyrant.
Oriana Fallaci

I don’t want to hear about my death.
Oriana Fallaci

I feel less alone when I read the books of Ratzinger.
Oriana Fallaci

I find it shameful that in nearly all the universities of Europe, Palestinian students sponsor and nurture anti-Semitism.
Oriana Fallaci

I have always looked on disobedience toward the oppressive as the only way to use the miracle of having been born.
Oriana Fallaci

I have reached the conclusion that those who have physical courage also have moral courage. Physical courage is a great test.
Oriana Fallaci

I was a little girl fighting as a partisan against Nazi-Fascism.
Oriana Fallaci

Is it right to shoot the poor prostitute or a woman who is unfaithful to her husband, or a man who loves another man?
Oriana Fallaci

Khomeini was not a puppet like Arafat or Qaddafi or the many other dictators I met in the Islamic world. He was a sort of Pope, a sort of king – a real leader.
Oriana Fallaci

The increased presence of Muslims in Italy and in Europe is directly proportional to our loss of freedom.
Oriana Fallaci

The moment you give up your principles, and your values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period.
Oriana Fallaci

The Muslims refuse our culture and try to impose their culture on us. I reject them, and this is not only my duty toward my culture-it is toward my values, my principles, my civilization.
Oriana Fallaci

This Islam business kidnapped me.
Oriana Fallaci

War is something Arafat sends others to do for him. That is, the poor souls who believe in him. This pompous incompetent caused the failure of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton’s mediation.
Oriana Fallaci

We are an age without leaders. We stopped having leaders at the end of the 20th century.
Oriana Fallaci

When my father was arrested, we didn’t know where they had him. My mother found him at the house of torture. It was called Villa Triste.
Oriana Fallaci

Whether it comes from a despotic sovereign or an elected president, from a murderous general or a beloved leader, I see power as an inhuman and hateful phenomenon.
Oriana Fallaci

Why do the people humiliate themselves by voting? I didn’t vote because I have dignity. If I had closed my nose and voted for one of them, I would spit on my own face.
Oriana Fallaci

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.
Oriana Fallaci

Wojtyla was a warrior, who did more to end the Soviet Union than even America.
Oriana Fallaci

You cannot govern, you cannot administrate, with an ignoramus.
Oriana Fallaci

You cannot survive if you do not know the past.
Oriana Fallaci

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