One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to meet Bat Ye’or at the Counterjihad Summit and sit next to her on the dais while she gave the keynote speech. She is small in stature and mild in voice and manner, but she speaks with authority, with a calm assurance born of a mastery of the facts. With full knowledge of the horrifying future that awaits Europe — and the rest of the West — she maintains an equanimity which is an inspiration to us all.
The Italian delegation to the Summit traveled there to give Ms. Ye’or the Oriana Award, in memory of the late Oriana Fallaci. Ms. Ye’or and Ms. Fallaci were friends and frequent correspondents. Bat Ye’or helped her friend in her literary struggle against political Islam by providing her with material from her researches. One of the Italian ladies referred to Ms. Ye’or as “the Muse of Oriana”.
The presentation of the Oriana Award was the most moving moment of the conference.
One of the European attendees at the Counterjihad Summit, angered by the insults hurled at our efforts from several corners of the blogosphere, wrote me this email earlier today:
Charles needs to block himself off from reality completely, to be able to uphold two contradicting things: his photo of Oriana Fallaci on the sidebar of his blog, while doing all in his power to bring down our conference (a conference so bad to him that he considers it a no-brainer that Oriana wouldn’t have attended, and considers it arrogance off-the-scale to even suggest the idea).
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Who will tell him about how the memorial fund started by Oriana’s friends handed out the Oriana Award at the conference? To Bat Ye’or. A moment that caused a bit of a problem for a big boy like me, because my eyes were brimming with tears. When Bat told us how Oriana called her late at night when she was soon about to die, I had to bite my lips hard so that I wouldn’t start crying for real. I think so many of us could see ourselves in the desperation of Oriana in that moment.
So what was Bat Ye’or, the idol of Oriana, doing at this conference, when it’s so unthinkable that Oriana (according to Charles) would have attended?
The current witch hunt by Charles and his photo of Oriana in his blog are two things so wildly contradicting that it will tear him apart. The truth is there to be told. He won’t hear it right now, because there’s so much noise in that echo-chamber he has created for himself. But the truth will come out, and will eventually reach even Charles. What will he do? Take down the photo of Oriana as he took down the link to Gates of Vienna?
And now I have to go and find a napkin.
I’ll be writing more later on about Bat Ye’or and the other fine speakers who helped make Counterjihad Brussels 2007 such a great success.
A big thank-you to Steen for the photo of Bat Ye’or.