July 26, 2005
Straight Talker

Never one to mince words, the increasingly frail Oriana Fallaci is speaking out once again:

"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder," the historian Arnold Toynbee wrote, and these words could certainly be Ms. Fallaci's. She is in a black gloom about Europe and its future: "The increased presence of Muslims in Italy, and in Europe, is directly proportional to our loss of freedom." There is about her a touch of Oswald Spengler, the German philosopher and prophet of decline, as well as a flavor of Samuel Huntington and his clash of civilizations. But above all there is pessimism, pure and unashamed. When I ask her what "solution" there might be to prevent the European collapse of which she speaks, Ms. Fallaci flares up like a lit match. "How do you dare to ask me for a solution? It's like asking Seneca for a solution. You remember what he did?" She then says "Phwah, phwah," and gestures at slashing her wrists. "He committed suicide!" Seneca was accused of being involved in a plot to murder the emperor Nero. Without a trial, he was ordered by Nero to kill himself. One senses that Ms. Fallaci sees in Islam the shadow of Nero. "What could Seneca do?" she asks, with a discernible shudder. "He knew it would end that way--with the fall of the Roman Empire. But he could do nothing."

Her most recent article is serialized here and here.

I've always found her prose searing and her insights both bang-on and illuminating, and she's no different here. I am also deeply amused at the similarity in both tone and attitude between her writings and Ellen's opinions. You can take the girl out of Italy...

Oh, and anyone who might dismiss her out of hand as some sort of proto-neocon, you might want to read a little bit more about her first.

Posted by scott at July 26, 2005 12:54 PM

eMail this entry!

An amazing woman! I am very frightened by reading her essays. I cringe everytime I hear someone say that the terrorists are giving mainstream Islam a bad name.

Posted by: Pat on July 26, 2005 01:35 PM

In the comments to the translation, someone noted that the religious establishment in Islam hasn't issued a fatwa or condemned bin Ladin, Zarqawi, or any of the terrorist acts that we've seen - in fact, they've been being more of apologists for them.

I'm not sure, but that's an interesting bit if it's true. I'm not condeming the religion by any means, but that'd make me wonder if they're giving tacit support.

So - does anyone have a contradiction to the above?

Posted by: ronaprhys on July 26, 2005 01:42 PM

I love Oriana and cats both, so I'm very honored by your trackbacks and links.


Posted by: someguy on July 26, 2005 01:56 PM
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