Cannons and Rubber boats: Oriana Fallaci and the 'Clash of Civilizations'

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Orsini, Francesca (2006)

Written in October 2001 as a 'gut reaction' to the attack on the Twin Towers, and published first as a long article in the daily Corriere della Sera and then in book form (in its original shape, twice as long as the article) in December 2001, Oriana Fallaci's pamphlet La rabbia e l'orgoglio ('Anger and pride') was in its twenty-sixth edition when I bought it in September 2004. Its follow-up, La forza della ragione ('The force of reason'), has already sold 800,000 copies since its publication in 2004. Oriana Fallaci has emerged after 9/11 as the strongest and most vocal Italian representative of the 'clash of civilizations' theory. This essay analyses the constitutive elements of her discourse (Italian nationalism, values instead of history and politics, and violent speech conflating Islam, terrorism and immigrants) and tries to understand its appeal and the sources of its authority in Fallaci's career, in order to outline the specific Italian version of the clash of civilizations theory.
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