Oriana Fallaci

Italian journalist and writer (1929-2006)

Oriana Fallaci (June 29, 1929September 15, 2006) was an Italian journalist, author and political interviewer. She was a partisan in the Italian resistance movement during World War II.

There are moments in Life when keeping silent becomes a fault, and speaking an obligation. A civic duty, a moral challenge, a categorical imperative from which we cannot escape.


Objectivity does not exist. The word is a hypocrisy which is sustained by the lie that the truth stays in the middle. No, sir: Sometimes truth stays on one side only.
  • What's the point anyway — Of suffering, dying? It teaches us to live, boy. A man who does not struggle does not live, he survives.
    • A Man (1979)
  • People like me who have passion are derided: 'Ha ha ha! She's hysterical!' 'She's very passionate!' Listen how the Americans speak about me: 'A very passionate Italian.'
  • "Americans," she said, repeating for me something she told the American Enterprise Institute, "you have taught me this stupid word: cool. Cool, cool, cool! Coolness, coolness, you've got to be cool. Coolness! When I speak like I speak now, with passion, you smile and laugh at me! I've got passion. They've got passion. They have such passion and such guts that they are ready to die for it."
    • "The Rage of Oriana Fallaci", in The New York Observer (27 January 2003)
  • Our weakness in the West is born of the fact of so-called "objectivity." Objectivity does not exist. The word is a hypocrisy which is sustained by the lie that the truth stays in the middle. No, sir: Sometimes truth stays on one side only.
    • "The Rage of Oriana Fallaci", in The New York Observer (27 January 2003)
  • Europe is no longer Europe, it is Eurabia, a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense.
    • As quoted in "Prophet of Decline" by Tunku Varadarajan, in The Wall Street Journal (23 June 2005)
  • Whether it comes from a despotic sovereign or an elected president, from a murderous general or a beloved leader, I see power as an inhuman and hateful phenomenon... I have always looked on disobedience toward the oppressive as the only way to use the miracle of having been born.
    • As quoted in "The Agitator: Oriana Fallaci directs her fury toward Islam" by Margaret Talbot, in The New Yorker (5 June 2006)
  • If you put a pistol against my head and ask which I think is worse, Muslims or Mexicans, I'd have to think a moment, then I'd say the Muslims because they've broken my balls.
    • As quoted in "The Agitator: Oriana Fallaci directs her fury toward Islam" by Margaret Talbot, in The New Yorker (5 June 2006)
  • It's been four years since I spoke about Islamic Nazism, the war with the West, the cult of death, the suicide of Europe. A Europe which is no longer Europe but Eurabia, which with its softness, its inertia, its creed and its enslavement to the enemy, is digging his own grave. (Sono quattr' anni che parlo di nazismo islamico, di guerra all' Occidente, di culto della morte, di suicidio dell' Europa. Un' Europa che non è più Europa ma Eurabia e che con la sua mollezza, la sua inerzia, la sua cecità, il suo asservimento al nemico si sta scavando la propria tomba.)
    • "Il nemico che trattiamo da amico", in Corriere della Sera (15 September 2006)
  • Europe is no longer Europe, it is Eurabia, a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense... I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true. There must be some human truth that is beyond religion... I am disgusted by the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans... Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! They don't know who Churchill was! In Italy, they don't even know who Cavour was!... Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty... State-run television stations contribute to the resurgent anti-Semitism, crying only over Palestinian deaths while playing down Israeli deaths, glossing over them in unwilling tones... The increased presence of Muslims in Italy and in Europe is directly proportional to our loss of freedom... The Muslims refuse our culture and try to impose their culture on us. I reject them, and this is not only my duty toward my culture-it is toward my values, my principles, my civilization... The struggle for freedom does not include the submission to a religion which, like the Muslim religion, wants to annihilate other religions... The West reveals a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological; it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive... These charlatans care about the Palestinians as much as I care about the charlatans. That is not at all... When I was given the news, I laughed. The trial is nothing else but a demonstration that everything I've written is true... President Bush has said, 'We refuse to live in fear.'...Beautiful sentence, very beautiful. I loved it! But inexact, Mr. President, because the West does live in fear. People are afraid to speak against the Islamic world. Afraid to offend, and to be punished for offending, the sons of Allah. You can insult the Christians, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Jews. You can slander the Catholics, you can spit on the Madonna and Jesus Christ. But, woe betide the citizen who pronounces a word against the Islamic religion.
    • A Sermon for the West">From "A Sermon for the West" By Oriana Fallaci – Oct. 22, 2002 Address to an audience at the American Enterprise Institute
  • The problem is that the solution does not depend upon the death of Osama bin Laden. Because the Osama bin Ladens are too many, by now: as cloned as the sheep of our research laboratories. In fact, the best trained and the more intelligent do not stay in the Muslim countries... They stay in our own countries, in our cities, our universities, our business companies. They have excellent bonds with our churches, our banks, our televisions, our radios, our newspapers, our publishers, our academic organizations, our unions, our political parties. Worse, they live in the heart of a society that hosts them without questioning their differences, without checking their bad intentions, without penalizing their sullen fanaticism.
    • A Sermon for the West">From "A Sermon for the West" By Oriana Fallaci – Oct. 22, 2002 Address to an audience at the American Enterprise Institute

Interview with History (1976)

  • This too famous, too important, too lucky man, whom they call Superman, Superstar, Superkraut, and who stitches together paradoxical alliances, reaches impossible agreements, keeps the world holding its breath as though the world were his students at Harvard.
    • On Henry Kissinger, in: Interview With History, New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1976 (translated from the original Italian edition Intervista con la storia, Milan, Rizzoli, 1975), Chapter 1: Henry Kissinger, p. 17.

Intervista con la Storia (2011, 6th edition)

  • Among today's Italians, when treading upon Haile Selassie's memory, the sense of guilt and shame is such that they react by seeing only his positive traits: the merits of his past actions. His portrayals always brim with excessive deferance, unwarranted admiration and delusion. They go on and on about his priestly composure, his regal dignity, his great intelligence and his generosity towards former adversaries. They never explain who this sovereign, who we made into a victim, really was. They never dare tell us if he was something more, or less, than a victim. For example, that he was an old man hardened in principles which were centuries out of date; that he was the absolute ruler of a nation which has never heard the words rights and democracy, which lives in a near prehistoric fashion in the suburbs, oppressed by hunger, disease, ignorance and the squallor of a feudal regime which even we did not experience during the darkest years of the Medieval period.
    • On Haile Selassie, (June 1972), as quoted in Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011) p. 509
  • Hearing him speak is so fun, reassuring I dare say. You can say all you like about Sihanouk: that he's an atrocious liar, a madman, a fraud, a swashbuckler, an international blot. You may think that, but you cannot deny how in this age in which the political arena seems to generate only dull, obtuse and boring characters with no imagination, he's a kind of miracle.
    • On Norodom Sihanouk, (June 1973), as quoted in Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011) p. 100

The Rage and the Pride (2002)

  • To make you cry I’ll tell you about the twelve young impure men I saw executed at Dacca at the end of the Bangladesh war. They executed them on the field of Dacca stadium, with bayonet blows to the torso or abdomen, in the presence of twenty thousand faithful who applauded in the name of God from the bleachers. They thundered "Allah akbar, Allah akbar." Yes, I know: the ancient Romans, those ancient Romans of whom my culture is so proud, entertained themselves in the Coliseum by watching the deaths of Christians fed to the lions. I know, I know: in every country of Europe the Christians, those Christians whose contribution to the History of Thought I recognize despite my atheism, entertained themselves by watching the burning of heretics. But a lot of time has passed since then, we have become a little more civilized, and even the sons of Allah ought to have figured out by now that certain things are just not done. After the twelve impure young men they killed a little boy who had thrown himself at the executioners to save his brother who had been condemned to death. They smashed his head with their combat boots. And if you don’t believe it, well, reread my report or the reports of the French and German journalists who, horrified as I was, were there with me. Or better: look at the photographs that one of them took. Anyway this isn’t even what I want to underline. It’s that, at the conclusion of the slaughter, the twenty thousand faithful (many of whom were women) left the bleachers and went down on the field. Not as a disorganized mob, no. In an orderly manner, with solemnity. They slowly formed a line and, again in the name of God, walked over the cadavers. All the while thundering Allah–akbar, Allah–akbar. They destroyed them like the Twin Towers of New York. They reduced them to a bleeding carpet of smashed bones.
  • I am not speaking, obviously, to the laughing hyenas who enjoy seeing images of the wreckage and snicker good–it–serves–the–Americans–right. I am speaking to those who, though not stupid or evil, are wallowing in prudence and doubt. And to them I say: "Wake up, people. Wake up!!" Intimidated as you are by your fear of going against the current—that is, appearing racist (a word which is entirely inapt as we are speaking not about a race but about a religion)—you don’t understand or don’t want to understand that a reverse–Crusade is in progress. Accustomed as you are to the double–cross, blinded as you are by myopia, you don’t understand or don’t want to understand that a war of religion is in progress. Desired and declared by a fringe of that religion, perhaps, but a war of religion nonetheless. A war which they call Jihad. Holy War. A war that might not seek to conquer our territory, but that certainly seeks to conquer our souls. That seeks the disappearance of our freedom and our civilization. That seeks to annihilate our way of living and dying, our way of praying or not praying, our way of eating and drinking and dressing and entertaining and informing ourselves. You don’t understand or don’t want to understand that if we don’t oppose them, if we don’t defend ourselves, if we don’t fight, the Jihad will win. And it will destroy the world that for better or worse we’ve managed to build, to change, to improve, to render a little more intelligent, that is to say, less bigoted—or even not bigoted at all. And with that it will destroy our culture, our art, our science, our morals, our values, our pleasures...Christ! Don’t you realize that the Osama Bin Ladens feel authorized to kill you and your children because you drink wine or beer, because you don’t wear your beard long or a chador, because you go to the theater or the movies, because you listen to music and sing pop songs, because you dance in discos or at home, because you watch TV, wear miniskirts or short–shorts, because you go naked or half naked to the beach or the pool, because you *** when you want and where you want and who you want? Don’t you even care about that, you fools? I am an atheist, thank God. And I have no intention of letting myself be killed for it.
  • I have informed myself better about Buddhism and I found that, unlike Muslims, with their an-eye-for-an-eye and a-tooth-for-a-tooth, and unlike Christians who speak of forgiveness but invented Hell, Buddhists never use the word "enemy". I have found that they have never made converts with violence, they have never made territorial conquests through the pretext of religion, and they don't have the concept of Holy War. Some deny this. They deny that Buddhism is a peaceful religion... Each family includes people of bad character. But even they recognize that the bad character of those warrior monks was not used to proselytize, and admit that the history of Buddhism does not record a ferocious Saladin or popes like Leo IX or Urban II or Innocent II or Pius II or Julius II... Yet the children of Allah also fight the Buddhists. They blow up their statues, they prevent them from practising their religion.
  • My heart is also tightening for the way in which they have killed them [the Buddhas of Bamiyan]... They have not acted with the irrationality and bestiality of the Chinese Maoists who destroyed Lhasa in 1951, broke into monasteries and into the palace of the Dalai Lama and like drunken buffalo razed to the ground the monuments of a civilization... The destruction of Lhasa was not preceded by a trial... But in the case of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, there was a real process. There was a real sentence, then an execution was decided based on legal norms or presumed legal norms. It was therefore, a premeditated crime.

The Force of Reason (2004)

  • Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam. And Italy is an outpost of that province, a stronghold of that colony...In each of our cities lies a second city: a Muslim city, a city run by the Quran. A stage in the Islamic expansionism.
  • I also saw the cement-quarry where a couple of days earlier the Muslims had massacred eight hundred Hindus. Many women included. And where their corpses lay abandoned to the appetite of the vultures. Hundreds and hundreds of vultures unrolling long paper-streamers which were not paper-streamers: they were the Hindu bowels torn out by their beaks and carried up in the sky. Yes, I rediscovered that world in Dacca.
    • The Force of Reason, 2006

Quotes about Fallaci

Who is this woman? Where does she come from? What does she want? Enough, go away, ça suffit! ça suffit! ~ Haile Selassie
  • With Oriana Fallaci's demise at 77 from a host of cancers, in September, in her beloved Florence, there also died something of the art of the interview. Her absolutely heroic period was that of the 1970s, probably the last chance we had of staving off the complete triumph of celebrity culture.
  • Ever since the secret trip to China, my own relationship with Nixon had grown complicated. Until then I had been an essentially anonymous White House assistant. But now his associates were unhappy, and not without reason, that some journalists were giving me perhaps excessive credit for the more appealing aspects of our foreign policy while blaming Nixon for the unpopular moves. .
    These tendencies were given impetus by an interview I granted to the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, without doubt the single most disastrous conversation I ever had with any member of the press. I saw her briefly on Nov. 2 and 4, 1972, in my office. I did so largely out of vanity. She had interviewed leading personalities all over the world. Fame was sufficiently novel for me to be flattered by the company I would be keeping. I had not bothered to read her writings; her evisceration of other victims was thus unknown to me.
    I paid the price for my naiveté. The quotes ascribed to me, statements of marginal taste gathered together in what she presented as a conversation, were the most self-serving utterances of my entire public career.
  • Even though you are on the blacklist of my authorities, I'll add you to the whitelist of my heart.
  • Who is this woman? Where does she come from? What does she want? Enough, go away, ça suffit! ça suffit!!
    • Haile Selassie, as quoted in Interviewed by Oriana Fallaci, Chicago Tribune, Sunday, June 24, 1973
  • L’Europeo considers her its star reporter. She covers the Indo-Pakistani War and the Maoist uprising in Hong Kong. Then she travels to the Middle East to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to South America to write about guerrilla groups fighting against various dictatorships. She quickly becomes famous for her courage and her combative spirit. A colleague remembers: “During the war between India and Pakistan, while we were following the Sikh troops and the Gurkhas, she took a different route. She got on a rickety boat and sailed up the Brahmaputra and arrived in Dacca at the moment the dictator’s troops were killing their prisoners and burying them in common graves. Some were still alive. She made such a fuss that it was a miracle they didn’t shoot her.”
    • Cristina De Stefano, Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend, New York: Other Press, 2017 (translated by Marina Harss from the original Italian edition Oriana, una donna, Milan, Rizzoli, 2013).
  • Oriana Fallaci is not only a great journalist: for me she is "the" journalism. And I underline "is" (wasn't) for many reasons. One of which lies in the fact that its pages will long remain the best school of journalism, but above all a formidable breath of intellectual freedom, a vaccine against all idiots, variously placed in the hierarchies of power, and against the lazy cowardice of conformism.
    • Antonio Socci, From the preface to Oriana Fallaci, Intervista con il potere.
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