Fallaci Decapitated: Emblem of the New Europe

An art show in Milan has illustrated once again the deep affinity between the Left and the forces of the global jihad. As Muslims the world over call for the deaths of those who have "insulted Islam," anyone who wants to see the author of the seminal post-9/11 books The Rage and the Pride and The Force of Reason beheaded can go to the Galleria Luciano Inga-Pin in Milan, which is exhibiting Giuseppe Veneziano’s "American Beauty" from January 19 through March 18. This is a series of paintings designed to highlight the "weakness and perversity of the ‘American way of life’" — including Oriana Fallaci’s decapitated head.

Although I find the picture of Fallaci decapitated offensive, I have no plans to attack the Italian embassy, boycott Italian wine, phone in a bomb threat to the gallery, kill innocent people who had nothing to with the painting, or threaten to kill those who are actually responsible for it. Veneziano’s painting is the sort of obnoxiousness that has become commonplace on the Left, and is one of the prices of freedom of speech.

Veneziano’s painting is doubly offensive, however, in light of the fact that Fallaci herself has been driven out of Italy by frivolous charges that she has "defamed Islam." Veneziano is not on trial for depicting Fallaci decapitated, but Fallaci faces trial for making a series of heated but largely true statements about Islam and Muslims. Veneziano’s painting is triply offensive in that it depicts exactly what the Muslim exponents of cartoon rage around the world would like to see done to Fallaci — and thus manifests the ever-closer empathy between the Western Left and Islamic jihad.

Both the Left and the mujahedin envision a totalitarian state that cleanses the world of evil by force, establishing a just society at the price of an unspecified number of dead. Both advocate a supremacist ideology unable to tolerate criticism from others. And now as the European Union contemplates new laws that will, in the words of Franco Frattini, EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, "give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression," the marriage of the European Left and Islamic jihad can proceed all the more speedily. Frattini has since denied that the EU has any such plans, but there can be no denying that voices all over the West have called for the media to exercise "responsible self-regulation" so as to avoid trampling upon Muslim sensibilities. But Muslim sensibilities only: those who depict Fallaci beheaded, or Jesus Christ with the face of Osama bin Laden, will continue to be subject to the same protections enunciated by Josh Wainwright, the producer of the art show that featured the Christ/Osama painting: "I don’t think it’s anyone’s job or vocation to limit the expression of artists." Right. Except cartoon artists, of course. Or at least those who have the temerity to suggest that there might be some connection between violent actions done by Islamic jihadists and the Prophet who said that "Paradise is under the shades of swords."

Fallaci decapitata is a fitting emblem for the new Europe, in which the Swedish government closed down a political party’s website for displaying the cartoons of Muhammad, the Norwegian editor who ran the cartoons abjectly apologized, and European companies doing business in the Middle East can’t dissociate themselves quickly enough from Denmark. This is the New Dhimmi Europe, eager to "give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression."

Europe is already well aware of those consequences. They are clear in Veneziano’s painting. Not enough of those in Europe who still have their heads seem willing to stand up to Islamic violence and intimidation long enough to allow the heroic lady to keep hers. All around the Continent the parliamentary heads of government are losing their heads trying to avoid offending Islam; all too soon they will realize that Fallaci’s head alone was not enough to appease their sworn enemies. Not nearly enough.