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August 20, 2004 by AK

No Rage, no Pride?

Apparently, no Russian publisher has printed a translation of Oriana Fallaci’s recent books, The Rage and the Pride and The Strength of Reason. Vagrius promised to publish one of them by June 2004, but it hasn’t appeared. Another publishing house, Inostranka, said it was considering Fallaci for translation and publication, but no more than that. I have read a few extracts from Fallaci in Russian, and indeed some passages are bitterly offensive to Muslims in general.

Roughly speaking, there are two major varieties of Islam alive in Russia. One is the sometimes belligerent Islam of the North Caucasus. The other is the non-aggressive Islam of the Tatars and the Bashkirs. (Across the border, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan also provide examples of a most agreeable variety of Islam.) Neither most of the North Caucasians nor the Turkic peoples of the Volga and the Urals are immigrants or even descendants of recent immigrants. They did not come to Russia; it was Russia that came to them. However, “swarthy” males from the Caucasus often face popular hostility in ethnically Russian cities, often due to their economic status and cultural differences. On the contrary, Tatars are deeply integrated into Russian society. (This may be partly due to a popular Russian belief that there is a Tatar admixture in every Russian’s genes, a sort of a blood tie.)

Obviously, none of these ethnic groups is going to be happy to read the Muslim world contributed next to nothing to humanity’s development, nor to be classified as unclean and primitive. Especially as no other traditionally Muslim ethnic group is as successful and influential in Europe or the US as the Tatars are in Russia. (From the composer Sofia Gubaidullina to the tennis player Marat Safin to the surgeon Rinat Akchurin–there are plenty of distinguished Tatar names out there.) The bottom line is, I don’t expect Fallaci’s latest oeuvres to be published in Russian and in Russia.


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