She was one of the most fearless and courageous defenders Western civilization had in these latter days, and the West rewarded her by hounding, persecuting and vilifying her.
Such is the state of the society and culture she loved and tried to save from itself.
I was surprised and honored when she named me as one of her "comrades in arms...pals...buddies" in an appendix to the English edition of The Force of Reason. Many times in her last months, after she did me the honor of calling me her friend, I spent time with her that I will always hold dear. Her apartment in New York City was a mesmerizing and unique collection of artifacts from her marvelous career and a monument to her erudition and avid interest in human civilization, human achievement.
One indelible evening she invited me there -- no, summoned me there, in her inimitable way -- and we spent hours drinking fine wine and discussing the state of the world, and her fascinating and hilarious reminiscences of her encounters with the Ayatollah Khomeini, Archbishop Makarios, Henry Kissinger, Deng Xiaoping, Pope Benedict XVI, and so many others.
She was weak and ill, but her mind -- and her observations -- were as sharp as ever. During the evening a prominent conservative writer who is soft on the Islamic jihad in the way many mainstream conservatives are (following the wishful-thinking Religion of Peace That Has Been Hijacked By A Tiny Minority Of Extremists line) telephoned. Oriana took the call, spoke with him for awhile, and then hung up, turned to me, and said: "I don't like him! He is stupid!"
She always told the truth, no matter how unpopular, no matter how politically incorrect.
And as she began to slip away, I often thought to myself, What can I do for Oriana? Of course, the only answer was to do exactly what I am doing here at this site, and in my books, and in traveling around the country speaking, trying to alert people to the reality and magnitude of the global jihad.
I invite you, then, on this day of sadness and loss, to pay tribute to Oriana. There is no way we can make up for what we have lost in her. But the best way we can pay tribute to Oriana is by becoming Oriana. Let there be a hundred new Orianas today, a thousand new passionate and articulate and absolutely unbowed defenders of Western culture and civilization, with a fine contempt for all the many weapons of physical and psychological intimidation that the jihadists and their non-Muslim allies and tools in the Western media and government establishments use to try to silence and discredit us.
Buy her books. Give them to your friends and coworkers. Explain to them why she said -- as is quoted in the obituary linked above -- that "Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam." Explain to them why that matters for so much that they hold dear. Enlist them also in the anti-jihad resistance. And fight the jihad and Islamic supremacism the way she did, with the fire and light of truth, with an untiring defense for the rights and dignity of the human individual, with good humor, with immense joy in living, and with a love for the elements of the good life that the jihadis are determined to efface: art, music, love.
And when we prevail, we will be able to memorialize her fittingly, as a light that shone in our darkest days.
I will never forget her. How could I? I even have a phone message from her that I keep saving so that it doesn't disappear -- just so that I can hear her voice.
Ciao, Oriana. I love you.
May her memory be eternal.