Skip to comments.Oriana Fallaci: Anger and Pride
Posted on 05/02/2002 4:36:10 PM PDT by WaterDragon
Translated from the Italian by Chris and Paola Newman)
(OMED: some of the language below is coarse. Parts of the text leave you with the impression she is Ernest Hemingway. The piece is very long and in places absolutely brilliant...(snip))
[Translator's note: This piece..(snip) appeared in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on September 29, 2001. The few translations we've seen since then have struck us as too literal to properly convey the meaning and immediacy of Fallaci's Italian prose to an American audience. We thought it worth a try. Comments on the translation can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org]
You ask me to speak, this time. You ask me to break at least this once the silence I've chosen, that I've imposed on myself these many years to avoid mingling with chattering insects. And I'm going to. Because I've heard that in Italy, too, there are some who rejoice just as the Palestinians of Gaza did the other night on TV. Victory! Victory! Men, women, children. Assuming you can call those who do such a thing man, woman, child. I've heard that some of the insects of means, politicians or so-called politicians, intellectuals or so-called intellectuals, not to mention others not worthy of the title of citizen, are behaving pretty much the same way. They say: Good. It serves America right.
And I am very, very, very angry. Angry with an anger that is cold, lucid, rational. An anger that eliminates every detachment, every indulgence. An anger that compels me to respond and demands above all that I spit on them. I spit on them....(snip)
I can just imagine how Mr. Arafat would seethe with rage to hear me. There's bad blood between us, you know. He never forgave me, either for the scorching differences of opinion we had during that meeting or the judgements I expressed about him in my book "Interview With History". As for me, I never forgave him anything. Including the fact that an Italian journalist who imprudently presented himself as a friend of mine found himself with a revolver pointed at his heart. So, we don't see each other any more. It's too bad. Because if I met him again, or rather if I were to grant him an audience, I'd scream in his face who the martyrs and heroes are. I'd scream: Illustrious Mr. Arafat, the martyrs are the passengers of the four airplanes that were hijacked and transformed into human bombs. Among them is a four-year-old little girl who disintegrated into the second tower. Illustrious Mr. Arafat, the martyrs are the employees who worked int he two towers and at the Pentagon. Illustrious Mr. Arafat, the martyrs are the firemen who died trying to save them.
And do you know who the heroes are? The passengers of the flight that was supposed to throw itself into the White House but instead crashed into the woods in Pennsylvania because they fought back! There ought to be a paradise for them, illustrious Mr. Arafat....(snip)
Despite all the shortcomings that always get rubbed in their face -- that I myself always rub in their face (though those of Europe, and of Italy in particular, are even more serious) -- America is a country with important things to teach us. And speaking of heroic efficiency, let me sing a paean to the Mayor of New York. That Rudolph Giuliani to whom we Italians should kneel in gratitude. Because he has an Italian last name and an Italian origin and he makes us look good before the whole world. Rudolph Giuliani is a great mayor, one of the greatest....(snip)
So, when I saw whites and blacks crying in each other's arms -- and I mean in each other's arms -- when I saw Democrats and Republicans arm in arm singing God Bless America, when I saw them drop all their differences, I was flabbergasted. Just as I was when I heard Bill Clinton (someone for whom I've never harbored much tenderness) declare: We must stand behind Bush. We must have faith in our president. I felt the same when those same words were forcefully repeated by his wife Hillary, now senator for the State of New York. And when they were reiterated by Lieberman, the ex-Democratic candidate for the vice-presidency. (Only the defeated Al Gore remained squalidly silent). I felt the same when Congress voted unanimously to accept war and punish those responsible....(snip)
And having said this, let me explain where the ability to unite that characterizes the Americans comes from.
It comes from their patriotism. I don't whether in Italy you saw and understood what happened in New York when Bush went to thank the rescue men (and women) who are digging in the ruins of the two towers trying to save some survivor but only coming up with the occasional nose or finger. In spite of this, they do it without giving up, without resigning themselves, so that if you ask them how they do it they say: I can allow myself to be exhausted, but not defeated. All of them. The young, the very young, the old, the middle-aged. White, black, yellow, brown, purple....You saw them, didn't you? While Bush was thanking them all they did was wave their little American flags, raise their clenched fists, and roar: USA! USA!
In a totalitarian country I'd have thought: Look how nicely organized this was by the Powers That Be! Not in America. In America you don't organize these things. You don't manage them.....(snip)
The truth is that America is a special place, my friend. A country to envy, to be jealous of, for reasons that have nothing to do with wealth, etc. It's special because it was born out of a need of the soul, the need to have a homeland, and out of the most sublime idea that Man has ever conceived: the idea of liberty, or rather liberty married to the idea of equality. It's special also because the idea of liberty wasn't fashionable at the time. Nor was the idea of equality.
Nobody was talking about these things but a few philosophers of the so-called Enlightenment. You couldn't find these concepts anywhere except in big expensive books released in installments and called Encyclopedias...(snip Not even the revolutionaries of the French Revolution were talking about it, seeing how the French Revolution didn't start until 1789, thirteen years after the American Revolution exploded in 1776. (Another detail that the anti-Americans of the good-it-serves-America-right school ignore or pretend ot forget. Bunch of hypocritses!)...(snip)
And they all got their skulls cracked by America: English, Germans, Mexicans, Russians, Nazis, Fascists, Communists. Even the Vietnamese got their's cracked in the end, when they had to come to terms after their victory....(snip)It's going to be much harder to deal with the sons of Allah. Much longer and much harder. Unless the rest of the Western world stops peeing its pants. And starts reasoning a little and gives them a hand....(snip)
This woman has written an incredible essay. Please read the full article!
One of the Mods might fix it for you if you ask nice.
Those title typos are embarassing, aren't they? I've done it more times than I care to think about...
Anyway, I'm pleased you posted this- many may not have seen it, and what she has to say is important.
Here are the addies of those:
Anger and Pride by Oriana Fallaci.. Her first essay about 9-11-2002 attack
That first addy has links to some of her other works & interesting commentary as well.
Since I have a moment ( I woke up at 3 with a wolf-face in mine... that'll teach me to give Taffy a bite of pork from the Chinese takeout last night... ) I'll link those articles-
I highly recommend reading & re-reading her work... not just for the opinions expressed, but for the manner in which she expresses them.
If you follow some of the links & comments, you'll see she has a highly effective narrative technique, too, when interviewing famous people.