Friday, September 15, 2006

Farewell Oriana


Today I woke up to a fresh breeze of autumn, shining sun, blue sky and the promise of a new day, a better time. Glancing through news there was one headline “Oriana Fallaci passed away age 77”.

What is life? Once somewhere I read: “life is like a plate, you need to fill it very well otherwise it means nothing” The book was Nothing, and so be it by Oriana Fallaci. She filled her own plate with so many different things.

“Nothing and so be it” became the way many of my generation, young Iranians growing up in time of war with Iraq, see Vietnam conflict. I read her other works; her interviews and her other novel If Sun Dies. There was something eye-catching about her a sense of self righteousness; an audacious approach to subjects.

In her interview with history she asked Shah of Iran why her book was collected from bookstore when Nixon was visiting Tehran. May be she failed to see how her work had become a powerful element in leftist mindset of Iran’s and Middle East intellectual society in 70's. Her aggressive questions[1] and her somehow arrogant writing style endeared her to many, who did not have a way to question their rulers.

…But there was another Fallaci too, a Fallaci who wrote The Force of Reason and The Rage and The Pride. The gifted journalist she was, she took her readers on an emotional journey to portray an Islam unfamiliar to many Muslims. A true traditionalist European she was, she shared with her audience her dismay witnessing the changes in Europe’s demography and the increase in Muslim immigrants population. Her language as colorful as ever portrayed Muslims as people who “multiply like rats”. Many consider this an outright racism. The storm was inevitable, the courts, the articles, the controversy that followed.

No one was more puzzled than her own audience in Islamic world, where she was liked as a courageous journalist and a great writer. For many she became a prophet of decline.

Today Oriana is gone… Today let's not think of her as the author of The Force of Reason but as that courageous reporter who wrote from the trenches of Vietnam, who gave us a glimpse into an unknown world. Many remember her as that woman who ventured the world of powerful ones and asked those questions they did not expect to hear or answer. And As the strong will woman she was.

After all life is about doing the right thing and not about being right. Oriana was an idol from an era when being right was more important than doing the right thing. Then she did the right thing that makes her life remarkable. She was wrong about Islam that is understandable. She was furious about changes in Europe because she was a hardcore European, a great one in the truest sense of the word. That also is understandable.

In one of her last interviews she commented “their reactions show that I am right.”
You were wrong, Oriana, but we still love you, rest in peace.


[1] Henry Kissinger wrote after being interviewed by her that the interview was "the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press".

1 comment:

persianarchitect said...

thanx for the graet insight, to be honest I could undrestand her concern for the changing europe.