Monday, September 18, 2006

Addio and Grazie Oriana!

Under this title, the Milanese newspaper Corriere della Sera paid tribute to the Italian journalist and author Oriana Fallaci who died, aged 77, last week.

The New York Times, with many other papers around the Western world, chose to focus their obituaries on her last two books, The Rage and Pride and The Force of Reason, in which she courageously denounced the danger of a radical interpretation of Islam and foresaw the rise of a new totalitarianism, Islamo-fascism. They've labelled her a racist, an Islamophobe and implied she was in some way psychologically unbalanced.

In paying tribute to Oriana, we should remember her as one of the most brilliant journalists, and most talented interviewers - of her generation. 'No one can refuse an interview with her', wrote the LA Times when her Interview with History was published.

She was a remarkable writer, gifted with a rare ability to share and interact with her readers.
She gave us Letter to an Unborn Child, where she evoked, so elegantly and without a hint of self-pity, her difficulties in coming to terms with the absence of a child in her life.

But also, she gave us Un Uomo - A Man, Un Homme - which, as one of the most personal accounts of the interaction between love and political involvement, is a true masterpiece: the story of her love for a young Greek man, Alekos Panagoulis, and their political fight with the fascistic greek military dictatorship of the 60s.

Oriana probably never got over Alekos's assassination. She honored his memory by standing firmly against any extremism, whether it was from the left or the right, which threatened to endanger Western values.

Farewell and thank you, Oriana!
Franck Guillory

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