A common thread runs through some of Oriana Fallaci’s 1970s interviews with world leaders:
Golda Meir: “I think the war in the Middle East will go on for many, many years…. Because of the indifference with which the Arab leaders send their people off to die, because of the low estimate in which they hold human life, because of the inability of the Arab people to rebel and say ‘enough.’”
What was the cause of that indifference, that low estimate and that inability?
Yasir Arafat: “No! We don’t want peace. We want war, victory. Peace for us means the destruction of Israel and nothing else.”
Whence his unwillingness to negotiate or compromise?
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: “[Muslims and Hindus] are not brothers. We never have been…. We’ve never arrived at a harmonious relationship.”
By her own account in her new book, The Force of Reason, it was years before Fallaci herself discovered the answer to these questions. She explains that George Habash, the Marxist leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, explained it to her in 1972, but she did not grasp the full import of his words. “Our revolution is a part of the world revolution. It is not confined to the reconquest of Palestine,” Habash told her, but he wasn’t spouting Marxist dogma. “Palestinians are part of the Arab nation,” he continued. “Therefore, the entire Arab nation must go to war against Europe and America. It must unleash a war against the West. And it will. America and Europe don’t know that we Arabs are just at the beginning of the beginning. That the best is yet to come. That from now on there will be no peace for the West … To advance step by step. Decade after decade. Determined, stubborn, patient. This is our strategy. A strategy that we shall expand throughout the whole planet.”
In The Force of Reason, Fallaci chronicles how fantastically successful that strategy has been—so successful that before this century is out the Mediterranean Sea could become an Islamic lake, with countries on the Northern side joining those of the South in the global Islamic umma. She writes with verve and passion about short-sighted Europeans who are more concerned about violating multiculturalist sensibilities than fighting for their own survival—and who decline even to acknowledge that what they are in is indeed a fight for their survival.
The Force of Reason reads as an explanatory postscript to the remarks of those leaders of the 1970s. Why did the Arab leaders value life so cheaply, as Meir noted? Because of the Islamic notion that Paradise awaits those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (Koran 9:111). Why did Arafat reject all hope for peace and call openly for Israel’s destruction (at least in the days before he learned how far he could go by dissembling on this point)? Because of the Islamic idea that infidels must not rule in any land that has once been ruled by Muslims. Why did Bhutto dismiss any possibility of Hindus’ and Muslims’ living in peace with as much finality as Arafat did when speaking of Israelis and Arabs? Because of that same jihad ideology that has no place for Muslims and non-Muslims to live together in peace on an indefinite basis as equals.
For the leaders of the 1970s, jihad was no concern, and for those of today, it is the conflict that none dare to name. Fallaci chronicles her travails after the publication of her post-9/11 manifesto, The Rage and the Pride, likening the mainstream media to Medieval inquisitors and herself to a heretic whom they thirst to destroy for her abominations. For today’s chattering classes, supporting America against the jihadists is a crime more heinous than even the mass murders of September 11. In Europe today, Fallaci asks acidly, “If I hate Americans, I go to Heaven, and if I hate Muslims, I go to Hell?”
In today’s PC world, yes. But her book attests to the fact that the force of reason is still very much alive, and powerful.