As recorded in an interview with the late Oriana Fallaci, by one George Gurley, that was published in the New York Observer on 27 January 2003: just under eleven years ago.
But before I quote that conversation, I think it proper to include part of the opening portion of that interview:
“On a recent afternoon, the telephone rang in Oriana Fallaci’s Manhattan townhouse. Â The tiny, blue-eyed 72 year old writer put down her cigarette and picked up the receiver. Â “Oh, it is you!” she said. She assured the caller that she was all right, then thanked him and hung up. Â “He calls to see if I’m alive,” she said…’
‘The caller was a police officer, who has been checking in on Ms Fallaci since the publication of her most recent book, “The Rage and the Pride”, which she wrote in New York, during the weeks following September 11.
‘The book – a passionate cry in whcih she accuses the West of being blind to the true threat of Islam – caused a scandal when it was published in Europe last year, but has raised barely a murmur in the U.S. Â In her native country of Italy, the book has sold over 1 million copies, and over 500, 000 in the rest of Europe. Â In the U.S, it has sold just 40,000 copies since October.
‘The relative silence with which Americans have greeted the book is somewhat puzzling: it is precisely Americans who have the most evidence, in downtown New York, of the danger which Ms Fallaci lays out in her 187-page book.
‘InÂ The Rage and the Pride, Ms Fallaci compares Islam to a “mountain which in one thousand and four hundred years, has not moved, has not risen from the abyss of its blindness, has not opened its doors to the conquests of civilization, has never wanted to know about freedom and democracy and progress. Â In short, has not changed”.
‘She warns that “from Afghanistan to Sudan, from Palestine to Pakistan, from Malaysia to Iran, from Egypt to Iraq, from Algeria to Senegal, from Syria to Kenya, from Libya to Chad, from Lebanon to Morocco, from Indonesia to Yemen, from Saudi Arabia to Somali, the hate for the West (and, indeed, for the entire Infidel world, for every person everywhere who is not a Muslim and refuses to become a Muslim –Â CM) swells like a fire fed by the wind. And the followers of Islamic Fundamentalism (that is: of normative Islam, Islam pur et durÂ – CM) multiply like protozoa of a cell which splits to become two cells then four then eight then sixteen then thirty-two. Â To infinity”.
And now to that wrenching conversation, as remembered by Ms Fallaci; a brief conversation with Sharon, who spent his life in the front line of a tiny nation that has been continually assailed by jihad since its inception (and, indeed, from before its inception):Â
‘Last April, she said, (that is: April 2002Â – CM) Ariel Sharon phoned her to praise an article she had written in the weekly Italian publication, Panorama, about the problem of European and Arab (that is: Arab Muslim, and indeed pan-MuslimÂ – CM) antisemitism.
If you have never heard of that article, published in Panorama magazine on April 17 2002, at the height of the so-called ‘suicide-bomber intifada’, which was merely another phase of the neverending Muslim jihad against the Jews, then before you read any more here, click on the link, and read. Â Then you will understand why Sharon, after reading it, felt impelled to ring Oriana in person, to thank her:
It bears reading, and re-reading. Â It should, perhaps, be printed out in large print and nailed to the door or taped to the gateway of St James’s Church, Piccadilly – or declaimed aloud, outside the front gates – for it gives some idea of what Oriana, were she still living, would have said to and about the clerics of St James’s, on the subject of their desire to remove a wall that Israel built to impede genocidally-Jewhating murder-‘martyrs’ and snipers.
But now, back to Oriana, telling Mr Gurley of the New York Observer what transpired after she discovered who was on the other end of the phone that day in 2002:
‘She said she answered the phone, and said, “Hey, Sharon! How are you? Â Are you as fat?’. Â “Because I know him”. Â “Sharon said, ‘Oriana, I called you to say,Â “Damn, you have guts; damn, you are courageous; damn, do I thank you.”Â Â ‘I [Oriana] said, “Ariel, you thank me – I apologise with you. Â I was too tough to you 20 years ago.” Â ‘And he was, as usual, a gentleman”.
‘The night before the phone call, there had been an attack on a kibbutz.
“I [Oriana] said, “Listen, dearÂ (andÂ behind that awkward English word dear’ one must hear the Italian: ‘caro’, ‘carissimo’ –Â CM),Â I know what happened last night in that kibbutz. Â Will you please permit me to express to you and to your people my condolences?”
“Sharon started crying. Â I don’t know, I didn’t see the tears. Â But the voice was that of a crying man,Â and he started to shout: “Oriana! You are the only one who says the word “condolences”! Â Do you know, these bloody Americans”Â (meaning Blair and Bush) “they did not say that word to me.”
“And then [thus Oriana, relating the storyÂ – CM] with broken voice he said, “Do you know who were the dead last night? Â One who was the grandmother who was in Dachau, and who still had the number on her arm. Â The second one was her daughter, who was seven months pregnant. And the third one was the child of the daughter, who was 5 years old. And they are all dead! Â All dead ! Â All dead!”Â He was crying.”…
I am not going to try to assess what Ariel Sharon got right and what he got wrong.
I am thinking about something different: the insight that that little story of Oriana’s still gives – Â in that statement by Sharon, that no-one, not the President of the USA nor the Prime Minister of England, had seen fit to offer a word of condolence to him in his role as Prime Minister of Israel, when a Shoah survivor and her whole family were murdered by Muslim jihadis – into the extent of the unrelenting pressure – the extent of the cold indifference and, worse, the active hostility, even from those who are not Muslim and ought to know better – that we may assume is endured to this day, every day, most especially by those who represent and who lead the tiny jihad-beleaguered Jewish state of Israel.Â – CM.