September 15, 2006

Strong women are dying this week.

First, Ann Richards. Now, Orianna Fallaci. Here's Michelle Malkin's tribute to Fallaci, focusing on her polemical last books. But let's remember her whole life. From the WaPo obit:
Fallaci set the pace for a daring life when she joined Italy's anti-fascist resistance as a teenager during World War Two, then showed the same fearlessness as a war correspondent.

She covered conflicts in Vietnam, the Middle East, and Latin America at a time when few women braved the front lines, and was shot and beaten in 1968 during student demonstrations in Mexico.

Later, she succeeded in fiction with novels including "A Man," inspired by her love affair with Greek resistance fighter Alexandros Panagoulis.

Her exchanges with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, the Shah of Iran, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and other leaders, collected in her book "Interview with History," stood out for her provocative, uncompromising questioning.

In her interview with Kissinger, Fallaci needled the U.S. statesman until he agreed that the Vietnam War was "useless."

Kissinger later wrote that her interview with him was "the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press."


David said...

The world is less for the loss of these two women. Their wit and intelligence put them heads above their peers, whether male or female, and inspired the rest of us to live our lives to a higher standard.

They spoke truth to power with class, dignity, and style!


Bruce Hayden said...

Being a partisan, I was somewhat put off by Ms. Richard's comments about Bush's silver spoon or whatever. But then, a couple of years after she had lost the governorship to Bush the younger, I was on the same flight with her from Austin to Dallas (or Houston?) A not very big woman with huge silver hair was up in 1st class as I came aboard, and I didn't recognize her. But 1st class means that they disembark first, and there she was as I finally did so, working the passengers as they got off the plane. I got my hand shook and 30 seconds of her time.

Nevertheless, what I came to find out by living in TX was that she was the same type of dying breed there of grande dames, like Lady Bird, that so typify an older Texas. And I became accustomed to her type of humor more as I lived there and heard it around me all the time.

So, by that time when I finally did meet her at the airport, I was much more kindly disposed to her, and, despite my political leanings, was quite impressed.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that living in Colorado for the bulk of my life, I, along with most life long Coloradoans, had a love/hate with Texans. They live relatively close by, and come here a lot for vacations. But they aren't westerners, no matter how they style themselves. We view them much more as somewhat westernized southerners.

And it was that loud brashness that is so typical of the more traditional Texans that I think so turned me off to her before I moved to Texas and acclimated. By the time I left there, I could enjoy her humor.

Meade said...

Oriana Fallaci in the New Yorker earlier this year. She walked out on Muhammad Ali, mid interview, after he belched in her face. The section on her interview with Khomeini is not to be missed:

...Upon leaving Khomeini’s house after her first interview, Fallaci was besieged by Iranians who wanted to touch her because she’d been in the Ayatollah’s presence. “The sleeves of my shirt were all torn off, my slacks, too,” she recalled. “My arms were full of bruises, and hands, too. Do believe me: everything started with Khomeini. Without Khomeini, we would not be where we are. What a pity that, when pregnant with him, his mother did not choose to have an abortion...”

David said...


You gotta love it!

LoafingOaf said...

From that New Yorker piece:

Fallaci continued posing indignant questions about the treatment of women in the new Islamic state. Why, she asked, did Khomeini compel women to “hide themselves, all bundled up,” when they had proved their equal stature by helping to bring about the Islamic revolution? Khomeini replied that the women who “contributed to the revolution were, and are, women with the Islamic dress”; they weren’t women like Fallaci, who “go around all uncovered, dragging behind them a tail of men.” A few minutes later, Fallaci asked a more insolent question: “How do you swim in a chador?” Khomeini snapped, “Our customs are none of your business. If you do not like Islamic dress you are not obliged to wear it. Because Islamic dress is for good and proper young women.” Fallaci saw an opening, and charged in. “That’s very kind of you, Imam. And since you said so, I’m going to take off this stupid, medieval rag right now.” She yanked off her chador.

Kinda puts Mike Wallace's interview of President Amadamnjihad (sp?) and Dan Rather's interview of Saddam Hussein to shame.

Towards the end of the U.S. edition of The Force of Reason she goes off on the "plague of a combined new nazi-fascism" - the Islamic nazism combined with the Left's McCarthyism - and is reminded of how she witnessed fascism take over Italy:

Not by chance, when I say these things, I really feel as a Cassandra who speaks to the wind. Or as one of the forgotten anti-fascists who seventy or eighty years ago warned the deaf and the blind from a couple called Mussolini and Hitler. But the deaf remained deaf, the blind remained blind, and both of them ended up with bearing on their foreheads what in The Apocalypse I call The Brand of Shame and Infamy.

When I first read The Rage and the Pride and The Force of Reason I thought she was saying a lot of truthful things that needed to be said, but that she also was a little too extreme for my tastes. Going through those books again today, they seem even more truthful and...not so extreme. Which worries me. But I thank her for speaking her mind. RIP Oriana Fallaci

And the day after her death, Musims who don't much protest the atrocities done in their name are rampaging at the Pope for saying things that also seemed to have some truth in them. I see on Drudge a Turkish lawmaker is comparing him to Hitler.

Meanwhile, Mein Kampf is a bestseller in Turkey:

Anonymous said...

I love Fallaci. Is it sexist to say she had balls? Perhaps, but ovaries just doesn't sound cool.

The fact is, many women have balls and many men do not. And I'm not talking about transsexuals.

HalfCentTriChic said...

Oriana Falluci is gone?