Great Italians of the Past: Oriana Fallaci, the truth-hunter
- WTI Magazine #119 Sep 15, 2019
“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”. This was (or let me say, this is) Oriana Fallaci. Yes, because Oriana is like an eternal human being. Not just a journalist, Oriana was also an author and a worldwide famous interviewer.
She became famous for her coverage of the war, starting from World War II in which she took part as partisan.
Oriana became a journalist thanks to her uncle Bruno Fallaci, himself a journalist, who suggested to Oriana to dedicate her life in discovering and telling the truth. Journalism should be the seventh art, as he always told Oriana, and the first rule is to be honest. People have the right to know the truth.
Oriana became a special correspondent for the Italian paper “Il Mattino dell’Italia Centrale” in 1946 and she started her career as a political interviewer by covering Vietnam, the Indo-Pakistan War, the Middle East and in South America.
Oriana was a controversial journalist and she received criticism as well as support in Italy, where her books have sold over one million copies. She received much public attention for her writings and special statements on Islam and European Muslims. Indeed, she considered Islamic fundamentalism as a revival of the very same fascism that she fought in her youth.
Oriana refused the idea of a “moderate Islam” thinking that politicians in Europe were misunderstanding the threat of Islam in the same way that their 1930s equivalents misunderstood the German fascist. Of course, her position has often been considered too strictly and lots of people thought that as a journalist she should have been more impartial but Oriana Fallaci has become one of the best journalist in the world also because she has always been stuck on her idea of truth and justice.
Also, it is really important to remember that she was in New York that terrible September 11, 2001. After this tragedy she wrote three books critical of Islamic extremists warning Europe not to be too tolerant.
Her writings have been translated into 21 languages.
There are many things to say about her, you could love her and you could very easily hate her but she has been consistent with all her ideas and positions. She was a “truth-seeker” during very difficult times in which being honest and telling the truth could have been dangerous and counter-productive.
Fallaci twice received the St. Vincent Prize for journalism and the Bancarella Prize. She also received a D.Litt. From Columbia College. In the 2005 she also received the Annie Taylor Award for courage from the Center for the study of popular Culture. She was honored for the “heroism and the values”.
Oriana has been the essence of a realm journalism. Agree with her isn’t the point, the point is being honest in a work that is still desperately asking for the truth.
The journalist and the woman that she has been should still be an example for everyone who has something to say.