November 29, 2006

Mark Steyn on Oriana Fallaci

From the lastest Atlantic:
As for those on the left who acknowledged the [Islamic Fundamentalist] threat, she parted company with them, too. This year, a dozen intellectuals, including Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie, published a manifesto against Islamism and in defense of “secular values for all.” All are doughty warriors and important allies in Europe’s present struggle. But La Fallaci, a lifelong atheist, had come to the conclusion that secular humanism was an insufficient rallying cry, that it had in some sense led to the gaping nullity of contemporary European identity, which Islam had simply steamrollered. By the end, she was, if not a Christian, then (as she formulated it) a “Christian atheist.” In 2005 she was granted a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI on the understanding that she would never divulge what was discussed...

At the height of her fame thirty years ago, Oriana Fallaci seemed to embody the triumph of the post-Christian West. The apotheosis of the independent, emancipated woman, she lived long enough to understand that hyperrationalism was, in point of fact, wholly irrational, and she was big enough to change her mind on that without changing her glorious voice.

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