Are you afraid of death?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch-American feminist filmmaker and political writer. She is author of several books, the latest of which is Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now. She is also founder of the AHA Foundation, a former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former member of the Dutch parliament.
Ali is a vocal critic of Islam whose writings often focus on the religion's subjugation of women. Her work is controversial and has resulted in numerous death threats. In 2004 Ayaan gained international attention following the murder of Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh had directed her short film Submission, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The assassin left a death threat for her pinned to Van Gogh's chest. This tragic event, and Ayaan’s life leading up to it, are all chronicled in her best-selling book, Infidel.
Question: Are you afraid of death?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I fear death, I think, like everyone else. One of the things that the threats have done is they have made me aware of how short life is, and how trivial things can sometimes take the pleasure away from life – and so to shrug those small things off. And the constant idea that life is short. So paradoxically, I think leading a much, I think, more meaningful and better life after the threats than before the threats when small things would bother me – the weather, or feeling too cold, or not getting what I wanted.
Recorded: August 15, 2007.
The death threats have made daily life more meaningful.
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