10 July 2004

Book Review: The Force of Reason, by Oriana Fallaci, *****

Synopsis

Oriana Fallaci is back with her much-anticipated follow up to The Rage and the Pride, her powerful post-September 11 manifesto. The genesis for The Force of Reason was a postscript entitled Due Anni Dopo (Two Years Later), which was intended as a brief appendix to the thirtieth edition of The Rage and the Pride (2002). Once Ms. Fallaci completed the postscript, she chose to expand it into a book, a continuation of her ideas set in motion in The Rage and the Pride.In The Force of Reason Fallaci takes aim at the many attacks and death threats she received after the publication of The Rage and the Pride.

Ms. Fallaci begins by identifying herself with one Master Cecco, the author of a heretical book who was burnt at the stake during the Inquisition seven centuries ago on account of his beliefs, and proceeds with a rigorous analysis of the burning of Troy and the creation of a Europe that, to her judgment, is no longer her familiar homeland but rather a place best called Eurabia, a soon-to-be colony of Islam (with Italy as its stronghold). Ms. Fallaci explores her ideas in historical, philosophical, moral, and political terms, courageously addressing taboo topics with sharp logic.


Review

This is one of the most important books I have ever read. It puts Europe and all of the West squarely in front of the threat posed by extreme islam. Two years after "The Rage and the Pride" Fallaci writes a more balanced, reasoned text, a convincing, lucid and sharp analisis. The danger is great that we in the West, children of the Englightenment and Christianity, do not realize we risk losing what we have achieved in centuries of struggle, amongst numberless contradictions, and at a very high price, in terms of personal freedom and women emancipation. Fallaci calls herself a "Christian atheist", a thinking person who does not believe in god but recognizes the role of the Christian faith in the shaping of our identity.

Islamica immigration poses a problem which has been tackled in many different ways in Europe, but in all countries the danger is that instead of a healthy integration we allow values and customs to take root which are incompatible with some of ourmost treasured ones, like freedom, tolerance, respect. Those values which made the West a success, and for which it is a magnet of immigration from all over the world.

One of these values is the separation of Church and State. It took a long time to achieve, and in Italy we are not fully there yet, but this separation is totally incompatible with islam. Fallaci is not against immigration, but demands that immigration be coupled with integration.

I don't know what will happen in the coming years, but the big question is if the great historical cycles can be controlled by our laws: Can we prevent Europe from becoming "Eurabia"? Or, alternatively, are we going to be victims of our own tolerance, which is not reciprocated by Islam?



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