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Oriana Fallaci: The Rage and the Pride
La Rabbia e l'Orgoglio translated into English

The Rage and The Pride (La Rabbia e l'Orgoglio) by Oriana Fallaci
English | Italiano

You ask me to speak, this time. You ask me to break at least this once the silence I've chosen, that I've imposed on myself these many years to avoid mingling with chattering insects. And I'm going to. Because I've heard that in Italy too there are some who rejoice just as the Palestinians of Gaza did the other night on TV. "Victory! Victory!" Men, women, children. Assuming you can call those who do such a thing man, woman, child. I've heard that some of the insects of means, politicians or so-called politicians, intellectuals or so-called intellectuals, not to mention others not worthy of the title of citizen, are behaving pretty much the same way. They say: "Good. It serves America right." And I am very very, very angry. Angry with an anger that is cold, lucid, rational. An anger that eliminates every detachment, every indulgence. An anger that compels me to respond and demands above all that I spit on them. I spit on them. Angry as I am, the African-American poet Maya Angelou roared the other day: "Be angry. It's good to be angry, it's healthy." And I don't know whether it's healthy for me. But I know that it won't be healthy for them, I mean those who admire Osama Bin Laden, those who express comprehension or sympathy or solidarity for him. Your request has triggered a detonator that's been waiting too long to explode. You'll see. You also ask me to tell how I experienced this apocalypse. To give, in other words, my testimony. Very well, I'll start with that.

I was at home, which is in the center of Manhattan. At exactly nine o'clock I had a sensation of danger, of a danger that perhaps would not touch me, but that undoubtedly concerned me. It's the sensation you feel in war, or rather in combat, when every pore of your skin feels the bullet or the rocket as it approaches, and you perk up your ears and yell at the person next to you: "Down! Get down!" I pushed it away. It's not like I was in Vietnam. It's not like I was in one of the many wars, those fucking wars that have tortured my life since World War II. I was in New York for God's sake, on a marvellous September morning in 2001. But the sensation still possessed me, inexplicably. So I did something I never do in the morning and turned on the TV. The audio wasn't working. The screen was. And on every channel—and here there are almost a hundred—you saw a tower of the World Trade Center burning like a giant match. A short circuit? A small plane gone off course? Or an act of deliberate terrorism? I stayed there almost paralyzed, fixed on that tower, and while I fixed on it, while I asked myself those three questions, another plane appeared on the screen. White, huge. An airliner. It was flying extremely low. Flying low, it turned toward the second tower like a bomber who draws a bead on a target and then hurls himself at it. That's when I understood. I also understood because in that same moment the audio came back on and transmitted a chorus of primal screams. Repeated and primal. "God! Oh, God! Oh, God, God, God! Gooooooood!" And the plane went into that second tower like a knife going into a stick of butter.

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