Through no desire of her own, Oriana Fallaci will spend her final days as the focus of a trial in her native country. She has been charged with defaming Islam in eighteen separate statements in her book, The Force of Reason.
Defamation is the politically correct term for telling unpleasant truths about extremely thin-skinned cultures who refuse to acknowledge that their own leaders have previously proclaimed what Fallaci says is their goal: the subjugation of Western civilization. Surely everyone by now has heard the imams in Britain who boldly state that their goal is to have the flag of Allah flying from No. 10 Downing Street, or the grandiose “speeches” from Osama bin Laden telling the West how Islam will conquer us all. Not to mention Iranian leaders who scold American presidents and warn of our destruction, or the inciteful propaganda put out on a global basis by Saudi Arabia.
However, in our Alice in Wonderland world, such statements are not hate speech. Killing Jewish Frenchmen after torturing them is not anti-Semitism. Israel’s incursion into Gaza to retrieve its soldier is “revenge.”
If you have read The Force of Reason you will have been moved by Fallaci’s own force and passion. She lays it out, chapter after chapter: the Muslim version of Khrushchev’s promise to bury us. After they finish with the pigs and apes in Israel, that is.
9/11 was a conversion experience for Fallaci, as it was for many people. In fact, for those who did not awaken to a new world on 9/12, one must wonder if they are not the walking dead. If the annihilation of thousands of innocent Americans — Ward Churchill’s “Little Eichmanns” — did not change minds and hearts, then a hundred more falling buildings or chemical and biological weapons let loose in this country will not change them either. As the Pslamist says, they have hearts of stone.
Now Fallaci’s book has her on trial in Italy. She faces prison time — should she return to Italy — for saying things like this: “Over the last twenty years terrorists have killed six thousand people to the glory of the Qur’an.” Such are the strictures binding free speech in Europe that even factual statements or tentative opinions can get you in trouble via the “anti-incitement laws,” laws which can mean imprisonment:
Britain’s then-home secretary Jack Straw remarked in 1999 on criminal activity by people, many of whom posed as gypsies or “travelers”—hardly a slur on all gypsies even without that qualifier. But a travelers’ group filed a complaint of inciting racial hatred, prompting a formal investigation and extensive media coverage asking whether Straw was racist. In 2002, the prominent French novelist Michel Houellebecq was charged with inciting racial hatred in a novel and interview in which he referred to Islam as “the stupidest religion.”
Fallaci calls Islam much more than stupid. And for doing so, Adel Smith, president of the Muslim Union of Italy has brought charges of defamation against her. This is the same Adel Smith who is up on charges himself for defaming the Catholic Church. But, of course, Mr. Smith sees his statements about the criminal church as merely truth and will have his day in court to make his case.
Now comes (as they say in American legal documents) www.OrianaFallacitrial.org. That’s the name of the site dedicated to solidarity with Fallaci in her latest — and probably last, given her terminal cancer — ordeal. It is aimed at collecting signatures from around the world from those interested in standing with her in this battle for freedom of speech in a land which looks increasingly like a cross between Orwell’s 1984 and Alice in Wonderland. What genre exists for a mixture of farce, tragedy, and systemic, sleep-walking injustice?
Gates of Vienna has received an email, as surely other blogs have, requesting that we publicize their efforts:
I write on behalf of Future Europe association (Europa Przyszlosci) from Poland. We have organized an action, “The end of free speech – the end of democracy”. One point of that action was a letter of solidarity with Oriana Fallaci that was signed by prominent Polish politicians, journalists, scholars and artists. The letter itself and description of Oriana Fallaci’s case and freedom of expression is on our page www.intl.orianafallacitrial.org. Since we would like to make our action more visible, could you please put a link to the above-mentioned page on your web page. Attached you will find the logo for our action.
Thank you for support.
Here is the image this group — The “Europa Przyszlosci” (FUTURE EUROPE) association — is using in association with their campaign. Go here to read the petition and sign onto it if you wish. Note that Lech Wałęsa is one of the signatories.
In a world of worthy causes, in a universe of injustice and suffering, this one remains important. An old lady, still an icon of journalistic integrity, is dying. Like Saint Sebastian, she is also being tortured with arrows from moral midgets and cultural imbeciles.
It behooves all of us to do the little that we can.