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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Thursday, May 26, 2005
I’m trying to track down a copy of the actual complaint so I can find the 18 sentences Eugene is interested in. In the meantime, here’s a quick and dirty translation of a relevant passage from the book in question, The Force of Reason. Relevant both because it talks about the earlier legal process Fallaci was subjected to in France, and because it illustrates the general tone of her comments about Muslims. This is the beginning of Chapter 2:
I understood that the dream [nurtured by the sons of Allah] of destroying the Eiffel Tower was superfluous in the late spring of 2002, when “The Rage and The Pride” came out in France, where a novelist had just been criminally charged for saying that the Koran is the most stupid and dangerous book in the world. And where, in 1997 and then in 1998 and then in 2000 and then in 2001 Brigitte Bardot had been condemned (as a racist-xenophobe-blasphemer-etcetera) for having written or said those things people never get tired of repeating, poor Brigitte. That the Muslims have robbed her of her country, that even in the most remote villages French churches have been replaced by mosques and the Our Father with the cries of muezzins, that tolerance has a limit even in democratic regimes, that halal butchery is barbarous... (By the way: it is. It is, I’m sorry to say, in just the same measure as shechita butchery is barbarous. That is, the Jewish version which is carried out in the same way and consists of slitting the animals’ throats without dazing them, thus causing them to die little by little. Slowly, bleeding to death. If you don’t believe it, go to a shechita or halal slaughterhouse and observe that never-ending agony accompanied by heart-rending glances that stops only when the lamb or calf no longer has a drop of blood remaining. So at that point the meat is “pure,” nice and white, pure...).

I understood it, in other words, even before being incriminated like the novelist and Brigitte Bardot. Becuase you know who was the first to pile up the wood for my pyre? The same Parisian weekly to whose editor I had granted excerpts to publish in anticipation of the book. And you know how he piled up that wood? By publishing, next to my text, the requisitories of the French Fra Accursios. Journalists, psychoanalysts, islamists, philosophers or rather pseudophilosophers, politologists, everythingologists. (Not infrequently, with Arab names. Sometimes, with Jewish names.) You know who set it on fire? The extreme leftist periodical that dedicated a cover to me with the title (in cubital letters, naturally) of the article-condemnation: “Anatomy of an Abject Book.” You know what happened right afterward? It happened that, even though demand was insatiable in every bookstore, many sons of Allah demanded that it be removed from both windows and shelves, and many frightened booksellers were constrained to sell it in secret. As for the trial, it happened not only because of the complaint presented by the Muslims of MRAP, that is “Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amitie’ entre les Peuples” (sic), but also because of one presnted by the Jews of “LICRA.” “Ligue Internationale contre le Racisme et l’Antisemitisme.” The Muslims of MRAP, demanding that every copy be sequestered and (I suppose) burned. The Jews of LICRA, demanding that each of them bear a label: “Attention! This book may be hazardous to your mental health!” A warning, that is, just like the ones that deface packs of cigarettes: “Attention! Tabacco is gravely harmful to health.” Both, demanding that I be condemned to a year in prison and to pay a savory damages award to be poured into their pockets... I was not condemned, as you know. A procedural technicality saved me from prison, from the damages award, from sequestration, from the label like the ones that deface the packs of cigarettes. With notable acumen, the judge remembered that the first edition had been sold out in less than forty-eight hours, that the successive ones were being sold unstoppably, so that granting one of the two requests would be like closing the barn door after the cows have escaped. But this didn’t change the fact that the Jews of LICRA had wanted that trial just as much as the Muslims of MRAP. In fact I did nothing but torment myself over this, during those days. I did nothing but shake my head and repeat: I-don’t-understand-I-don’t-understand. And in reality it was hard to understand. Because the Fra Accursios of LICRA were quite familiar with the j’accuse I had written against European antisemitism. It had caused a tumult in France as well, and it was in response to that tumult as well that the website “thankyouoriana” had been put up. They also knew that the threats against my life had multiplied because of that article. And to this day I do not forgive them. But in a certain sense, today, I understand them.

I understand them because, even if your grandparents died in Dachau or Mauthausen, it’s not easy to be courageous in a country where there are more than three thousand mosques. Where Islamic racism, that is the hatred of the infidel-dogs, reigns supreme and is never put on trial, never punished. Where the Muslims declare openly: “We must take advantage of the democratic space that France offers us, we must exploit democracy, that is, make use of it to occupy territory.” Where not a few of them add: “In Europe the Nazi position was not understood. Or not by all. It was judged a vehicle of homicidal folly, when actually Hitler was a great man.” Where not a few of them would like to abolish the article of the French constitution that in 1905 rigorously separated Church from State and with that article all the laws that prohibit polygamy, repudiation of wives, religious proselytizing in the schools. Where ten years ago a franco-turkish girl of Colmar was carved up by her family that is by her mother and brothers and uncles because she had fallen in love with a Catholic and wanted to marry him. (“Better dead than dishonored” was the comment of that family.) Where in November 2001, thus only two months after September 11, a female french-moroccan student in Galeria, Corsica, was put to death with twenty-four stabs by her father because she was going to marry a Corsican, he too a Catholic. (“Better imprisoned than dishonored” was the father’s comment.) Where already in 1994 the stylist of Maison Chanel had to formally ask for pardon from the Muslim community not to mention destroy dozens of beautiful outfits because in the summer collection he had used fabrics stamped or embroidered with decorative verses from the Koran in Arabic. Where recently a farmer was required to remove the cross he kept in a wheat field (a field that belongs to him) because “the sight of that religious symbol causes tension among Muslims.” Where Islamic arrogance would like to abolish in the schools the “blasphemous” texts of Voltaire and Victor Hugo. With them the teaching of biology, a “shameless science because it is occupied with the human body and sex.” With the teaching of biology, lessons in gymnastics and swimming, sports that you cannot perform with burkah or chador.

Even less is it easy to be heroic in a country where, often, Muslims are not the official ten percent but rather thirty or even fifty percent. If you don’t believe it, go to Lione or Lille or Roubaix or Bordeaux or Rouen or Limoges or Nizza or Tolosa or even better to Marsailles which in substance is no longer a French city. It is an Arab city, a city of the Maghreb. Go look at the the central quartiere of Bellevue Pyat, by now a slum of filth and delinquency, a casbah where on Friday you can’t even walk along the street because the great mosque is not sufficient to contain the faithful and many pray outside. And where the police refuse to go, saying “It’s too dangerous.” Go there and look at the famous Rue du Bon Pasteur where all the women are veiled, all the men wear jalabah and long beards and turbans, and lounge from morning till evening in the cafes with the televisions that trasmit programming in Arabic. Go there and see the College Edgard Quinet where ninety-five percent of the scholars are Muslims and where last year a fifteen year old girl named Nyma was beaten by her schoolmates and thrown into a trashcan for wearing blue jeans. In the trashcan she came close to being burned. I say “came close” because she was saved by the principal of the school, Jean Pellegrini, who received two stab wounds for his trouble. (You know who gave them to him? Nyma’s brother.) So yes I understand the ungrateful signori of LICRA, yes I understand them. Collaboration almost always springs from fear. But they remind me of the German Jewish bankers who in the thirties, hoping to save themselves, lent money to Hitler. And who, in spite of this, wound up in the crematorium ovens.
Fra Accursio, by the way, was the inquisitor who went after Mastro Cecco. Oh, and for anyone who's not familiar with Oriana's J'accuse, here's the (somewhat corrected since) translation I did of that when it first came out in April 2002:
I find it shameful that in Italy there should be a procession of individuals dressed as suicide bombers who spew vile abuse at Israel, hold up photographs of Israeli leaders on whose foreheads they have drawn the swasitka, incite people to hate the Jews. And who, in order to see Jews once again in the extermination camps, in the gas chambers, in the ovens of Dachau and Mauthausen and Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen et cetera, would sell their own mother to a harem.

I find it shameful that the Catholic Church should permit a bishop, one with lodgings in the Vatican no less, a saintly man who was found in Jerusalem with an arsenal of arms and explosives hidden in the secret compartments of his sacred Mercedes, to participate in that procession and plant himself in front of a microphone to thank in the name of God the suicide bombers who massacre the Jews in pizzerias and supermarkets. To call them "martyrs who go to their deaths as to a party."

I find it shameful that in France, the France of Liberty-Equality-Fraternity, they burn synagogues, terrorize Jews, profane their cemeteries. I find it shameful that the youth of Holland and Germany and Denmark flaunt the kaffiah just as Mussolini's avantgarde used to flaunt the club and the fascist badge. I find it shameful that in nearly all the universities of Europe Palestinian students sponsor and nurture anti-semitism. That in Sweden they asked that the Nobel Peace Prize given to Shimon Peres in 1994 be taken back and conferred on the dove with the olive branch in his mouth, that is on Arafat. I find it shameful that the distinguished members of the Committee, a Committee that (it would appear) rewards political color rather than merit, should take this request into consideration and even respond to it. To hell with the Nobel Prize and honor to he who does not receive it.

I find it shameful (we're back in Italy) that state-run television stations contribute to the resurgent antisemitism, crying only over Palestinian deaths while playing down Israeli deaths, glossing over them in unwilling tones. I find it shameful that in their debates they host with much deference the scoundrels with turban or kaffiah who yesterday sang hymns to the slaughter at New York and today sing hymns to the slaughters at Jerusalem, at Haifa, at Netanya, at Tel Aviv. I find it shameful that the press does the same, that it is indignant because Israeli tanks surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, that it is not indignant because inside that same church two hundred Palestinian terrorists well armed with machine guns and munitions and explosives (among them are various leaders of Hamas and Al-Aqsa) are not unwelcome guests of the monks (who then accept bottles of mineral water and jars of honey from the soldiers of those tanks). I find it shameful that, in giving the number of Israelis killed since the beginning of the Second Intifada (four hundred twelve), a noted daily newspaper found it appropriate to underline in capital letters that more people are killed in their traffic accidents. (Six hundred a year).

I find it shameful that the Roman Observer, the newspaper of the Pope--a Pope who not long ago left in the Wailing Wall a letter of apology for the Jews--accuses of extermination a people who were exterminated in the millions by Christians. By Europeans. I find it shameful that this newspaper denies to the survivors of that people (survivors who still have numbers tattooed on their arms) the right to react, to defend themselves, to not be exterminated again. I find it shameful that in the name of Jesus Christ (a Jew without whom they would all be unemployed), the priests of our parishes or Social Centers or whatever they are flirt with the assassins of those in Jerusalem who cannot go to eat a pizza or buy some eggs without being blown up. I find it shameful that they are on the side of the very ones who inaugurated terrorism, killing us on airplanes, in airports, at the Olympics, and who today entertain themselves by killing western journalists. By shooting them, abducting them, cutting their throats, decapitating them. (There's someone in Italy who, since the appearance of The Rage and the Pride, would like to do the same to me. Citing verses of the Koran he exorts his "brothers" in the mosques and the Islamic Community to chastise me in the name of Allah. To kill me. Or rather to die with me. Since he's someone who speaks English well, I'll respond to him in English: "Fuck you.")

I find it shameful that almost all of the left, the left that twenty years ago permitted one of its union processionals to deposit a coffin (as a mafioso warning) in front of the synagogue of Rome, forgets the contribution made by the Jews to the fight against fascism. Made by Carlo and Nello Rossini, for example, by Leone Ginzburg, by Umberto Terracini, by Leo Valiani, by Emilio Sereni, by women like my friend Anna Maria Enriques Agnoletti who was shot at Florence on June 12, 1944, by seventy-five of the three-hundred-thirty-five people killed at the Fosse Ardeatine, by the infinite others killed under torture or in combat or before firing squads. (The companions, the teachers, of my infancy and my youth.) I find it shameful that in part through the fault of the left--or rather, primarily through the fault of the left (think of the left that inaugurates its congresses applauding the representative of the PLO, leader in Italy of the Palestinians who want the destruction of Israel)--Jews in Italian cities are once again afraid. And in French cities and Dutch cities and Danish cities and German cities, it is the same. I find it shameful that Jews tremble at the passage of the scoundrels dressed like suicide bombers just as they trembled during Krystallnacht, the night in which Hitler gave free rein to the Hunt of the Jews. I find it shameful that in obedience to the stupid, vile, dishonest, and for them extremely advantageous fashion of Political Correctness the usual opportunists--or better the usual parasites--exploit the word Peace. That in the name of the word Peace, by now more debauched than the words Love and Humanity, they absolve one side alone of its hate and bestiality. That in the name of a pacifism (read conformism) delegated to the singing crickets and buffoons who used to lick Pol Pot's feet they incite people who are confused or ingenuous or intimidated. Trick them, corrupt them, carry them back a half century to the time of the yellow star on the coat. These charlatans who care about the Palestinians as much as I care about the charlatans. That is not at all.

I find it shameful that many Italians and many Europeans have chosen as their standard-bearer the gentleman (or so it is polite to say) Arafat. This nonentity who thanks to the money of the Saudi Royal Family plays the Mussolini ad perpetuum and in his megalomania believes he will pass into History as the George Washington of Palestine. This ungrammatical wretch who when I interviewed him was unable even to put together a complete sentence, to make articulate conversation. So that to put it all together, write it, publish it, cost me a tremendous effort and I concluded that compared to him even Ghaddafi sounds like Leonardo da Vinci. This false warrior who always goes around in uniform like Pinochet, never putting on civilian garb, and yet despite this has never participated in a battle. War is something he sends, has always sent, others to do for him. That is, the poor souls who believe in him. This pompous incompetent who playing the part of Head of State caused the failure of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton's mediation. No-no-I-want-Jerusalem-all-to-myself. This eternal liar who has a flash of sincerity only when (in private) he denies Israel's right to exist, and who as I say in my book contradicts himself every five minutes. He always plays the double-cross, lies even if you ask him what time it is, so that you can never trust him. Never! With him you will always wind up systematically betrayed. This eternal terrorist who knows only how to be a terrorist (while keeping himself safe) and who during the Seventies, that is when I interviewed him, even trained the terrorists of Baader-Meinhof. With them, children ten years of age. Poor children. (Now he trains them to become suicide bombers. A hundred baby suicide bombers are in the works: a hundred!). This weathercock who keeps his wife at Paris, served and revered like a queen, and keeps his people down in the shit. He takes them out of the shit only to send them to die, to kill and to die, like the eighteen year old girls who in order to earn equality with men have to strap on explosives and disintegrate with their victims. And yet many Italians love him, yes. Just like they loved Mussolini. And many other Europeans do the same.

I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new nazism. A fascism, a nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth.

I see it, yes, and I say the following. I have never been tender with the tragic and Shakespearean figure Sharon. ("I know you've come to add another scalp to your necklace," he murmured almost with sadness when I went to interview him in 1982.) I have often had disagreements with the Israelis, ugly ones, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal. Maybe more than they deserved. But I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews. I stand just as I stood as a young girl during the time when I fought with them, and when the Anna Marias were shot. I defend their right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let themselves be exterminated a second time. And disgusted by the antisemitism of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that dishonors my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States, but a pit of Pontius Pilates. And even if all the inhabitants of this planet were to think otherwise, I would continue to think so.
The individual to whom she sends the two word salutation, by the way, is Adel Smith, the same person who is now behind the lawsuit against her in Italy. As I've explained elsewhere, while I don't doubt that Oriana has received death threats, I don't think the statement by Smith that she refers to above really was one.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that the account Fallaci gives of the proceedings in France doesn't make a lot of sense, at least to American legal eyes. I suppose I can imagine a judge denying a preliminary injunction on the ground that the feared damage is already done, so that the balancing of the equities weighs in favor of the burden on the publishers. But you wouldn't throw out the suit on that ground. It certainly wouldn't save you from prison or a damages award, assuming you had committed acts for which those were the legal consequences. Nor would it save you from a permanent injunction against further selling of the book. (As in copyright cases, for example.) So either Fallaci's not explaining what happened very well, or the French legal system is not very precise in the way it deals with these matters. Anybody know? Wouldn't surprise me if the answer was both.

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