Thursday, July 07, 2005

I'll form my own opinions, thanks

Regular readers of this blog know I'm a Christian, so some might assume I'd be outraged that a 70-year-old journalist who has cancer may be facing up to two years of imprisonment in Italy because she wrote a book portraying Islam in a bad light.

I'm not outraged.

All I know about Oriana Fallaci and her book, The Force of Reason, is what I read in this June 23 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. It seems Ms. Fallaci, who resides in New York City, has been indicted by a court in her native Italy for publishing a book that villifies a religion recognized by the state.

I think the Italians have passed themselves a pretty dumb law if it's true that a writer can't publish anything that might be construed to portray a state-recognized religion in a bad light. We Americans wouldn't tolerate that kind of censorship, and sometimes we need reminding that few other countries enjoy the freedoms we take for granted here. But while I believe the Italian law is unreasonable, I'm not an Italian citizen. Surely those folks have the right to make their own laws, even if we Americans think they're unreasonable.

The Journal piece asserts that "Oriana Fallaci faces up to two years' imprisonment for her beliefs." No, she does not. The Italian government has no jurisdiction over what this woman or anyone else believes. Ms. Fallaci faces punishment not for what she believes, but for what she has done. She is an Italian and she is accused of breaking Italian law.

Yes, I believe it's a stupid law, and I'd like to see the lady catch a break. But I don't appreciate the kind of journalism that overstates the facts in an attempt to manipulate my emotions and whip up my outrage. This evidence that Italians don't enjoy freedom of the press is, if not shocking, at least very disturbing to me. But I didn't need to be helped to that conclusion by a journalist's hint that the Italian government is policing people's beliefs.


Anonymous said...

I have to disagree. If a person cannot speak and write about their beliefs, then it *is* their beliefs that are being squelched. Part of believing is being allowed to speak about one's belief and being able to act on it (within reasonable bounds, since we don't want human sacrifice making a big comeback).

What is the good of being allowed to, say, believe in Christ, if they then say, "You can't talk about him, write about him, or gather with other likeminded folks. You just have to stay quiet and believe in the privacy of your own home and not bother anyone." That type of law leads to arenas and lions.

Belief IS related to expression and to action, because what we believe affects our thoughts and words and actions every day. So, yes, they are stomping down on her beliefs.

They tried to do this to the early disciples of Christ. Acts records an incident where they are told to stop speaking (no different than writing, in my view, as it is a form of verbal expression) on the matter of the gospel. The apostles politely told them to stuff it and carried on. With all due respect to Mr. Dickens, regarding this Italian statue: "The law is an ass."

May Orianna, for however long she has (and it's not long given she's cancerous), keep being a gadfly and believe--and write--as she pleases. If they jail her, they'll only create a martyr for her cause. I doubt they'd want that.


Brenda Coulter said...

Nope, I stand by what I said. The woman was not forbidden to believe. Neither was she forbidden to practice or talk about or write about her own religion. She (apparently) broke the law by criticising another religion in print.

I'm not going to get into the issue of civil disobedience here, but I will repeat that I think the law we're discussing is a bad one. ;-)

As always, Mir, I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

Anonymous said...

Orianna is an atheist. Her "faith" is one that ridicules ALL religions, because she believes they are ALL false. :) But in this case, she has beliefs about a particular religion. I think Islam is a false religion and that it's more extremist factions are a global threat. That's pretty much what Orianna said, and that should not be against the law. That's just the truth as she and I see it, and speaking or writing what one believes to be the truth should not be wrong.


Fair said...

There is a big difference between what is wrong and what is illegal. I believe it is very, very wrong for you to call Islam a "false religion." But I am glad it is not illegal for you to say that in the U.S.

I think Brenda has made a shrewd point about manipulation by the press.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, Fair. It shouldn't be illegal to say any religion is false if you think it is. Nearly every religion thinks in some way it's better or truer than others, or they simply wouldn't exist. :) Same with philosophy. An atheist, like Orianna, thinks that is the truest way of thinking. A liberal thinks that's the true way, a conservative thinks that's the true way. We follow what we believe to be true, hence, the others are less true or false.

I think it's wrong to say it's wrong that I said Islam is false. So there. ; )


Fair said...

LOL, okay :P

Small Blue Thing said...

I don't want to see Ms. Falacci in jail, but ONLY because of her desease. Here in Spain, our laws make people with deep or terminal diseases spent their prison times in hospitals or even at home, still under vigilance, of course.

But the fact is Ms. Fallaci commited a crime. Diffamation is, for us, when someone publishes something saying ugly things which can incriminate others without proves. And she did it, people.

The nice book says some things as muslim guys can pass IHV to italian girls, that mixed marriages can produce sick and smaller kids _I swear! or even worse. The book is not about Islam as a religion _and Islam was the path which built Europe, though many people ignores what happened around here in Dark Ages. The book is about muslims as race. Which is absolutely false, regarding to 19 millions people around the Earth.

Fallaci wrote a libel to increase popularity, and it's not been the first time. She wrote her first book stealing papers of soldiers dead in Vietnam war, and was punished about it too.

I don't want to hurt the lady, really don't. But please, don't play her playings. The bloody book is a sort of postmodern "Mein Kampf", caliming for Holy War to defend Europe... at home, asking for razias against african and asian migrants in Europe. It's one of the things that made me ashamed of belonging Euro Union last years.

Please, CoExIsT. It's possible.
Blue Thing

Small Blue Thing said...

Oh, and by the way...

This is not true. The judge is Jew.

An activist judge in Bergamo, in northern Italy, took it upon himself to admit a complaint against Ms. Fallaci that even the local prosecutors would not touch. The complainant, one Adel Smith--who, despite his name, is Muslim, and an incendiary public provocateur to boot--has a history of anti-Fallaci crankiness, and is widely believed to be behind the publication of a pamphlet,

Really I don't like to see her in jail. I proudly celebrate Ms. Fallaci can be a bloody nazi if she wants. But please, I repeat, let's no play her last game of glamour. She don't deserve it.

If you wish to read in spanish,

If someone publish something in the web saying things like that against insane people, be sure I would demand him or her.

Blue Thing

Anonymous said...

Orianna is hardly glamourous (imo). And Islam did not build Europe. It tried to conquer it, and thank God it didn't succeed in toto. Forget your precious freedoms if you were under and Islamic Shariah EU today. Islamic states persecute non-Islamic folks. Look at the rise of anti-Semitism in France and the EU since the muslim immigration increased. Look at the villages, towns and countries brought under Shariah, stoning and repressing women, lashing children to death. Would we rather live in Iran or S.A. or Taliban, or in a nation that lets you speak and live freely? I know which I'd pick.

So, since I wish the freedome to call a spade a spade, I give that freedom to Orianna, and even those who don't like Christians. Muslims make THE PROTOCOLS OF ZION (a hoax book) a bestseller. They put anti-Jewish examples and writings in the textbooks in S.A. and Palestine. They encourage the persecution of Christians and Jews. That's documented. If Orianna is anti-Islamic, then someone should write a book that's a counterpoint to hers, showing where she's wrong. That's free public discourse. If she libeled a particular PERSON with false and malicious ficitons, then you prosecute her for libel. But you don't just say, "Oh, she wrote nasty stuff about Islam, let's incarcerate her." That's bad law.

Small Blue Thing said...

Sorry, Mir, you're wrong. Islamic Al Andalus was the "guilty" of mantaining, here down in Europe, the old Roman Laws; the Old Roman Terms, and the old Roman Communications.

When Carlo Magno sent his first ambassadors... they came to Cordoba first. And King Abdelramman _who was northern spanish :) ask them to take a bath before the audience, only to not have guest who could be ridiculised at the Court. Because they smelled a little. And Spanish Philosophers, Scientist, Artist, christians, jews and muslims, women and men living at the Medina Palace could laugh of those french men.

I do know Europe's History as all the strenght my studies have made me. I love my country and its History, its Art and the way Islam and Christianity togheter built it... untill the Dammed Inquisition, Christian Inquisition, destroyed it, killing thousand of spanish and italians... only because of their religion and habits.

I can't change your prejudices about islam here _it's not of my bussiness if you've got some pieces of Internet and made up your own opinions about... pity, because Iran, shariah, Talibans are quite different concepts, and all of them quite away of Islam, which, by the way, is the Second Religion in my country and muslim spanish women are not oppressed as you said.

My mother is Christian.

My father is Jew.

I am deeply happy being a Buddhist.

I am leftish, liberal, and I am a proud reader of Brenda's blog, though not have always the same opinions _but I admire her humour, tolerance and open minding.

But I repeat Orianna Fallaci is not an anti-muslim, but a simply nazi woman hungry for fame and publicity since 60s.

If you think she's facing jail for writing against Islam, I've been not able to explain the right thing of the trial. She wrote 'Southern inmigrant smell'. Just for that she deserves the same despect I feel for Late Nuremberg Racial Laws. It's the same dog with a different neckring.

As a compassionate woman, I pray she don't die in prison, despite all the ugly things she's used to sell a new book.

Blessings to you all,
Blue Thing