Vittorio Sgarbi: “If we start from this premise of dogmatic secularism, we’re dead”

The following video is from the Italian TV show “Virus”, an excerpt hosted by Vittorio Sgarbi that aired the day after the Bataclan attack in Paris on November 13, 2015.

The “tragic premise of Florence” mentioned by the host refers to a decision by a school that viewing certain works of art would be Islamophobic, so the visit to the museum was cancelled. The Pakistani guest who appears with Mr. Sgarbi is named Reas Syed.

Many thanks to Elle Bowlly for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:06   With the usual restraint… —The usual… sure, sure. Well, I have to say that the Pope has said
00:14   exactly the things I said myself, independently… —No, we’re already going…
00:18   No, I mean… it’s intuitive. That is, that “God”, whoever He is, can’t be the one bringing death.
00:25   “God” is life. I mean, what’s disconcerting about this incident is that the god for which one kills
00:33   (who is for sure the one Muslims believe in)… according to Muhammad’s vision, it’s one who does
00:42   not allow for dialogue with another. What we’re experiencing right now (and the fact that I have
00:46   Anselma [Dell’Olio; Jewish] before me makes me understand this even more) is the same condition that
00:51   Israel has been in for 50 years now. They live in that constant state of threat to their identity
00:57   (in the name of their occupying that territory) because it’s not permissible for there to be
01:03   a religion which is not Islam. That’s why looking for dialogue is absolute nonsense.
01:09   The only Christian with whom Muslims can dialogue with is a dead one.
01:13   I’m not challenging the fact that he’s an Italian citizen of Muslim faith who may not actually
01:20   want to kill me; but that’s only because he’s a lukewarm believer.
01:26   We’re full of Christians who believe moderately. They don’t follow the commandments concerning sex,
01:31   for example. They do whatever they want. We’re nominal Christians. An orthodox Christian
01:38   is a fundamentalist, but his God is the God of love. Christ doesn’t tell us to kill.
01:44   The god of the [Muslim] fundamentalist, that is, of the orthodox,
01:47   is one who gives very precise guidelines:
01:50   the Christian ought not to exist; the Jew ought not to exist, so what’s the point of a dialogue?
01:53   The only hope you have is for our Muslim friend to be atheist or nearly atheist.
01:57   Because as soon as he starts believing, he can’t but agree with those who act in an absolutely
02:01   coherent fashion. The jihad (the idea of killing in the name of Allah) brings a reward! Paradise
02:09   for acting in a way that will help to spread this one faith (which is the only one allowed).
02:14   So, we’re clearly faced with a very contradictory situation.
02:18   Because on our part, with our good, kind
02:21   and affectionate God we haven’t acted differently than they do (towards them). Because the daily
02:25   bombings in Syria and Iraq bring death to innocent people, so this is not the solution.
02:33   It’s hard to say what the solution is. In the general setting of this matter, Atatürk’s attitude
02:40   should be adopted. An attitude that divides secular political actions from religious ones.
02:46   It’s difficult for them, while for us it’s automatic. Before this current Pope (who clearly resumed
02:49   temporal power), we used to have spiritual power separate from the temporal one.
02:54   THEY don’t have this! Qaddafi was a RELIGIOUS leader! Do you want to deny this?
02:59   He used to come to Italy to talk about the Quran —He usually lets others speak.
03:03   The point is: I’m not making this up. I mean, let’s hope that some of them will have a kind heart.
03:10   Let’s hope they are lukewarm Muslims. Just consider this: if they’re Muslims according to the
03:17   full extent of their faith, they’ll do what the Quran tells them.
03:20   It’s not like the Quran leads to tolerance.
03:23   About the tragic premise of Florence… let’s rewind a little. The other day, I told our associate
03:31   that I wasn’t able to go and comment on this image you see here. This is Christ, depicted by
03:36   a Jew. The relationship between Chagall and Christ is of course one in which a Jew
03:41   (who’s probably convinced that Christ is not God) still depicts him as God on a cross.
03:48   What does this image do to you? To me, nothing. To the Jew, nothing…
03:52   Let’s also keep in mind that the whole of the Muslim and Jewish world doesn’t allow God to be
03:57   depicted. Only our God is recounted because he is “man”. Christ’s divinity is in his being a man,
04:02   not being God. Being God is an add-on. In being a man, in saying: “love your neighbor as
04:07   yourself”, he tells of what we are. Does this equation exist in the Muslim world? It doesn’t.
04:12   So to avoid hurting the sensitive nature of a couple of Muslim students in an elementary class of
04:18   the Matteotti School, the school board said:
04:21   you’re not allowed to take a school class to see an art exhibition
04:25   entitled “The Spiritual Beauty”, when this is all that we are,
04:29   in fact. We are Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo,
04:32   Manzoni… all abolished. I mean, all that we are. That is:
04:36   being Christian. It’s a fault, according to Muslims,
04:39   as far as their god is concerned, not in regard to the images, obviously. Therefore,
04:43   a work of art (which this is, before it is Christ) should not be seen by a Muslim in Italy.
04:48   Otherwise, you’d hurt his sensitive nature.
04:51   If we start from this premise of dogmatic secularism, WE’RE. DEAD. Actually, we’re already dead.
04:56   Those who believe, though, still have hope. We are finished. Because since the European
05:02   Constitution lost (or it may have never had) the premise that the Christian roots are foundational —
05:07   because that’s what WE ARE. We are the churches, bell towers, civility, beauty, the world of Giotto
05:15   and Michelangelo… all of this is no more — we are mere Europeans, as they are Arabs.
05:20   But as soon as the Arabs become… —I’m not an Arab. —Arabs or Middle Easterners.
05:23   They’re essentially a geographical part of the world. But if you were to remove the geography part
05:27   and just say “Muslims”, you’d make religion and geopolitical condition coincide.
05:33   In our case, our worlds are separable and they are so even in the European Constitution
05:37   which perhaps is even right for it to be so, but as (Oriana) Fallaci said, it leads to the
05:41   annulment of identity. I mean, we have to accept having to respect THEM when they don’t
05:45   respect US. Well, this isn’t so easy. But, what we are doing at the same time, since we’re full of
05:51   morons governing us (the Sarközys, Hollandes, Merkels who drop bombs at random)
05:57   is killing not the terrorists (who are the faithful ones, though),
06:01   but children and innocent people.
06:04   The terrorist reaction against France is clearly because France bombs more than Italy.
06:10   So there’s a minimal balance. But this holds no reassurance, anyway. We should still be concerned.
06:15   I brought a few images to tell you that in France, something rational already lied in museums
06:20   The next image (which isn’t about intolerance towards a work of art) is that of a masterpiece
06:25   [called War] by Henri Rousseau, of 1894 where you see the image of a white woman who comes
06:30   to exterminate… Look at the dead bodies below, they almost seem like a sinister omen
06:34   of those who must have been left lying in that theatre last night. The red sky… and that violence.
06:41   For which you don’t understand the reason. Irrational. Surely not “love your neighbor as yourself”.
06:48   NOT: omo homini Deus! It’s something more violent that substantiates Bin Laden [for example].
06:53   I went to Pakistan in 2001. In ’94 some Algerian ambassadors came to me saying:
06:58   “Do you see these pictures?” It looked like the Massacre of the Innocents. They were Muslims
07:03   educated in Madrassas against the West who killed lukewarm Muslims for not being orthodox enough.
07:10   In 2001 in Pakistan I saw young people (like the ones here with us) on motorcycles with
07:17   Bin Laden’s image on them. He was a hero to them, a Che Guevara. Of course he was!
07:21   The Americans were bombing them. When a bomb drops on your head, you don’t think it’s for
07:24   democracy’s sake. You think that the one dropping them is a dickhead and you hate him!
07:28   You hate him! So, I get their hate! But I don’t believe tolerance is the solution.
07:33   The next image is just as eerie: “The Triumph of Death” of Palazzo Sclafani. A marvelous image.
07:39   Related to the Arab world also in iconography. Below you see an Arabic character struck by Death.
07:47   Death applies to everyone. At the end of the ’90s, a sociologist called Grandi came to know of
07:55   a threat by Muslims to destroy certain frescoes in San Petronio Basilica in which the church put
08:01   the head on Muhammad. One should have understood that in the idea of destroying that image
08:06   lived something that is against a culture that… Not even mentioning that the image depicted reality.
08:11   Up next, we see an unbelievable picture. This is a general of South Vietnam, meaning philo-American,
08:20   who kills a supposed Vietcong apparently because he was actually an anti-American subverter.
08:26   We’re witnessing the moment in which the photographer (Eddie Adams) demonstrates that in reality
08:33   the one who kills is already dead because within that act lies a nameless violence.
08:37   He’s killing him at random. After seeing these… how is it possible for one to destroy a monument
08:44   in the name of God!? How’s it possible for a Muslim
08:47   to kill a lesser faithful Muslim!? It happened in Palmyra.
08:50   A monument, nothing more than stones, symbols, memories were destroyed. Is this tolerable?
08:58   Have we ever destroyed a Muslim monument? Do you think a Christian would put a bomb under
09:03   a Muslim monument because it doesn’t coincide with his beliefs? Whose beliefs are these?
09:07   They’re beliefs of a pagan world that no longer exists. You destroy a pagan monument as an affront
09:12   to civilization. This is what happened. Can we forgive them? I don’t think so.
09:16   Lastly, what Putin (who’s not so kind) did: he put sarin gas in a movie theatre killing 200 people,
09:26   among whom were 40 Chechen terrorists. And 160 people… Well, he dealt with it this way.
09:32   These are the dead who did nothing. We suffered the same tragedy last night. Those shooting
09:39   were Muslims with full fa-… they weren’t terrorists, they just believed in their god.
09:45   Let’s ask ourselves if this decision to establish some kind of relationship… Whatever the nature
09:49   of it, whether repressive or of dialogue, should be against terrorists or against Muslims.
09:55   Which doesn’t mean ALL Muslims, just the ones who actually believe. I only dialogue with Muslims
10:00   who DON’T believe —Thanks to Vittorio Sgarbi. Don’t worry, you’ll have your chance to speak.

12 thoughts on “Vittorio Sgarbi: “If we start from this premise of dogmatic secularism, we’re dead”

  1. Thank you, Elle Bowlly: that was a giant undertaking.
    How confidently and knowledgeably Mr. Sgarbi speaks.
    No “misunderstanding” there.

  2. Thank God for the tough, smart, Christian Russians and Eastern Europeans who have not lost their senses.

  3. “A monument, nothing more than stones, symbols, memories were destroyed. Is this tolerable?”

    That’s one of the principal points: THE CULT OF DEATH. That’s what we are dealing with.

    Jahiliyyah is one of the most anti-civilizational doctrines in Islam; I dare say that just this precept makes Islam an antithesis of civilization.

    • Culture of Death..
      That’s what exactly Saint Jean Paul II was saying and preaching since early 80’s..Nobody listen..

  4. As always the ridiculous European pretension to give moral lessons to the US
    The Vietnamese (nationalist) general swept the trash … the Tet Offensive
    it was not only the attack on the American embassy, but a selective mass murder campaign of Saigon government officials, foreign missionaries and leadership villagers refractory to communism.
    And no one cared about Japanese, German and even French women and children in the WWII, the aerial attacks on Normandy killed more civilians than the German offensive of 1940.
    For those who only understand the language of tribal revenge, the best is the greatest:
    A MOAB in every damn hole of Muslim hell.

    • Harlock, this is a gross oversimlipifcation of the Allies’ bombing campaigns in WW2. We Brits may well have been guilty of “war crimes” by current standards, and indeed the Americans when they arrived in 1942 were uncomfortable with the RAF’s (not very accurate) area bombing of German cities by night (losses by day being too costly).

      This didn’t deter the US from doing the same to civilian targets in Japan as soon as they were able, in 1944-5, Japanese civiians apparently being less human than Germans; so let’s not throw stones.

      • Mark H, We can discuss the strategic effectiveness of the bombings, not their morality … any measure to shorten a war is morally valid … the problem of the Bomber Command it was not to have destroyed this or that city, only in not showing the means to extend this destruction to the point of obliterating the Reich himself. This is what we know now, and we are currently inclined to agree on the Dolittle, to prioritize the destruction of German fighter aviation, employing long range escorts for the bombings, now directed against transport routes and the refineries.

        When Trumman launched the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he obtained the end of the war. If the Islamic supremacists had been shocked by enough violence, rather than favored by the stupid rules of engagement of Obama and EU, we would much rather hear speak on the S***holestan.

        • In 1942, the US Eighth Airforce believed “The bomber will always get through”. By late ’43 their losses were so heavy that the arrival of long-range escort fighters came in the nick of time. Within a few months they were indeed bleeding the Luftwaffe fighter force to death, but it was serendipity, not the result of careful planning.

          • Not exactly “serendipity”, me boy. Every single theater of the war was a robust learning curve when it came to aviation. It was simply that America had plenty of metal and mettle, and to blazes with the cost in men and materiel.But then we hadn’t suffered the horrific losses of the previous generation that England had.

            Each new war is like that…it plays by the old rules until the new reality makes the generals and admirals play catch-up.

            Now we have the doctrine of the OODA loop, at least for the small escorts and such. And *that* came from a crazy colonel…

  5. Well said,
    From a comment on that Youtube clip

    Christians & Jewish martyrs say; “I will die for what I believe”.
    A Muslim martyr says; “you will die for what I believe”….

    then again in general.
    “The difference between Islam and Christianity is that in Islam, you are expected to die for your god. With Christianity, our God died for us.

    Sorry I do not know the original sources.

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