The return of The Dhivehistan Report is dedicated to Italian author, journalist and uncompromising political interviewer Oriana Fallaci who lost her protracted battle with breast cancer on September 15, 2006.
A resistance fighter during World War II, she became one of the first women war correspondents, reporting on conflicts in the Middle East and Latin America, as well as the Vietnam war. But she was best known for her uncompromising interviews with world leaders. They included the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. Henry Kissinger wrote after being interviewed by her that the interview was "the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press". Fallaci famously ripped off her chador during a heated interview with Ayatollah Khomeini at his home in 1979 after assailing him with questions about the treatment of women in the Islamic state.
This passionate and powerful voice of the 20th Century was forever bold and brazen in her dissection of politics, power and ego, and their devastating effects on democracies everywhere. She wrote with an integrity and force of character that defined her life's work up until the very last days. She fought Nazis in the war, she has been fighting Nazis ever since. Rest In Peace, Oriana. We need more like you.
Following is excerpt part 1 from her book "The Rage And The Pride".
"This is coming from one who has known this type of fanaticism rather well in Iran, in Pakistan, in Bangladesh, in Saudia Arabia, in Kuwait, in Libya, in Jordan, in Lebanon, and at home. That is, in Italy. Known it, and had it chillingly confirmed through a number of trivial episodes—or rather, grotesque ones. I’ll never forget what happened to me at the Iranian Embassy in Rome when I asked for a visa to go to Teheran, to interview Khomeini, and I showed up wearing red nail polish. To them, this is a sign of immorality. They treated me like a whore to be burned at the stake. They ordered me to take off that red immediately. And if I hadn’t told them, or rather screamed at them, what I really felt like taking off—or better yet, cutting off of them...Nor can I forget what happened in Qom, Khomeini’s holy city where as a woman I was turned away from all the hotels. To interview Khomeini I had to wear chador, to put on the chador I had to take off my jeans, to take off my jeans I had to find a secluded place. Naturally, I could have performed the operation in the car in which I had arrived from Teheran. But the interpreter wouldn’t let me. You’re–crazy, you’re–crazy, you–get–shot–in–Qom–for–doing–something–like–that. He preferred to bring me to the former Royal Palace where a merciful custodian took us in and let us use the former Throne Room. I actually felt like the Virgin Mary who has to take refuge with Joseph in the barn heated by the donkey and the ox to give birth to Baby Jesus. But the Koran forbids a man and a woman not married to each other to be alone behind a closed door, and alas, all of a sudden the door opened. The mullah in charge of Morality Control barged in screaming shame–shame, sin–sin, and there was only one way not to wind up being shot: get married. Sign the temporary (four months) marriage certificate the mullah was fanning in our faces. The problem was that the interpreter had a Spanish wife, a woman by the name of Consuelo who was not at all disposed to accept polygamy, and I didn’t want to marry anyone. Least of all an Iranian with a Spanish wife not at all disposed to accept polygamy. At the same time I didn’t want to be shot, that is, miss my interview with Khomeini. As I was debating what to do in this dilemma..."
to be continued...part 2 will be in next posting.