Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Saturday, November 09, 2002
ORIANA'S LATEST BOMBSHELL: There's a big antiglobo rally going on in Florence. Oriana had some words of advice and encouragement for her fellow residents:
Florentines, have dignity. Do not be inert, do not be resigned, but express your contempt. In a civil manner. Polite, civil! Close your stores. Including those selling food. Five days will go by quickly, and in five days no-one will die of hunger. Close the restaurants, the bars, the markets. Close the theaters, the cinemas, the pharmacies. Close everything, lower the shutters, put up the same sign that the courageous put up in 1922 when Mussolini's fascists made their march on Rome. "Closed in mourning." The same sign that ought to be at the entrance to the Uffizi, to all the other museums kept open by the city government, to the Baptistry, to Santa Maria del Fiore, to all the churches, not to mention Ponte Vecchio and Ponte a Santa Trinita. And do not send your children to school. Do not speak a word to those who want at minimum to smear our monuments with dirt. Do not even look at them, do not respond to their provocations. Impose on yourselves a sort of curfew, a lights-out, feel the same way you felt in 1944 when the Germans blew up our bridges and via Guicciardini, via Por Santa Maria. Offer the world the dolorous spectacle of a city offended, wounded, betrayed, and nevertheless proud. Proud! Because it is possible that these gentlemen and ladies accustomed to deceive others with the most debauched word in the world, the word Peace, will not devastate Florence. It is possible that in order not to lose face and the privileges of being mayor, president of the Region, deputy, senator, minister, general secretary, the squalid patrons of the Social Forum will convince them to take back their threatening promise: "It will not be a non-violent demonstration." That is to not do what they did at Seattle, at Prague, at Montreal, at Nizza, at Davos, at Naples, at Quebec City, at Göteborg, at Genoa, at Barcellona. It is possible, yes, and hoping not to be mistaken I add: with the necessary exceptions, I think that is how it will go. They won't dare to break the genitals of David and the Biancone. They won't dare to break the arms of Cellini's Perseus. Perhaps they won't even dare to assault the banks and consulates and barracks.

But there exists not only physical violence. The violence that feeding on cynicism goes looking for a death to sanctify, and to find it throws stones or fire extinguishers at some terrorized carabiniere. The violence that feeding on stupidity soils the facades of the antique buildings, shatters the windowpanes, sacks the MacDonalds, burns the automobiles. That occupies the houses and the banks and the factories, that destroys the newspapers and the offices of their adversaries. That (not having studied the history they don't know) repeats the obscenities dear to the fascists of Mussolini and the Nazis of Hitler. There is also moral violence, by God. And this is the violence that manifests itself in demagoguery and blackmail, that expresses itself with threats and intimidation. The violence that by exploiting the law humiliates the Law, makes it ridiculous. The violence that by making use of democracy outrages Democracy, mocks it. The violence that by taking advantage of liberty kills Liberty. Assassinates it.

And Florence has suffered this violence in insolent measure. Scandalous measure. She suffers it though the fault of those who in order to keep their seats of Power, to procure for themselves elsewhere the votes denied them by the People, have imposed on her the oceanic and arrogant rally called Social Forum. Who using or rather wasting the public funds, the citizens' funds, have planted it in one of her monuments: the Fortezza da Basso. Who ignoring or pretending to ignore her artistic patrimony, her vulnerability, her indifensibility, will inundate her (as many have affirmed) with a multitude equal to over half of her three hundred eighty thousand inhabitants. That is two hundred thousand persons. Who have allowed to enter along with people of good faith (a very dangerous good faith in my view, but as long as it gives birth to no Evil good faith must be respected) the hooligans to whom we owe the villainies of the previous Social Forums. The false revolutionaries, the daddy's boys, who while living off their parents or those who finance them dare to chatter about poverty. About injustice. The presumed pacifists, the false doves, who invoke peace by making war and who want peace from one side only. That is from the Americans' side only. (Never do they ask for it from Saddam Hussein or Bin Laden. Never do they improvise a march for the creatures assassinated or gassed by the former and the creatures massacred by the latter. In fact they respect Saddam Hussein. They love Bin Laden. They kneel to the military and theocratic regimes of Islam, and in their so-called social centers they hide clandestine agents not infrequently trained by Al Qaeda in Iraq or in Iran or in Pakistan. And on September 11 they were the first to snigger "Good, it-serves-the-Americans-right.")
That's only a small part of the letter Oriana wrote to the Corriere. The rest of it goes after (by name, and with ferocious particularity) the specific Florentine and national officials she holds responsible for allowing the rally to take place in Florence, something she had apparently been working behind the scenes for months to prevent.

I hope the protesters behave themselves, for their sake. Oriana says she's going to be in town.

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