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Out of Our Minds
Monday, June 14, 2004 10:44 AM
The Legacy of Daniel Pearl
Kevin Salwen on Culture

No one would have blamed the family of my former Wall Street Journal colleague and friend Daniel Pearl if they had reacted with abject anger and hostility after their son was so publicly and brutally murdered in Pakistan two years ago. Their bitterness easily could have spilled over into a hatred of Muslims, particularly after Danny's Islamic fundamentalist killers made him profess his Judaism shortly before they slashed his throat.

But the Pearls are extraordinary people.

Their energies have gone into preserving Danny's legacy at the Daniel Pearl Foundation, whose mission is to foster intercultural understanding, tolerance and dialogue. Specifically, the foundation focuses on Danny's passions -- music and journalism -- as tools to promote tolerance (Danny was a violin and mandolin player). For instance, the foundation promotes Daniel Pearl Music Day, now in its third year and featuring Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Barbra Streisand and a host of nonprofessionals.\n\nAnd the foundation provides scholarships to students in the Seeds of Peace program (an organization designed to promote Israeli-Palestinian understanding) to become journalism interns covering the Middle East. \n\nDanny's father, Judea, explains his thinking this way: Daniel 'practiced dialogue and bridge-building on a daily basis,' Judea says. 'He talked to strangers, rabbis and mullahs. He talked to carpet weavers and pearl-divers. He talked to rulers and peasants, and he turned them into friends, and he told us about them.'\n\nNow, Judea Pearl is talking revenge -- and his methods may surprise you. 'I feel the duty to do whatever I can to seek revenge and this is my revenge: to fight the hate that took Daniel's life.' \n\nClassy and inspiring man.

1 comment

anita - 6/14/2004 5:33:26 PM
Judea Pearl is right; nothing changes until we end the hate.

I think a lot about something a terrorist recruit said in a newspaper story a while back; he predicted that we would lose the war against terror because Westerners 'love life too much.'

Loving life, of couse, means you value it and don't want to destroy it. I wonder what we can do to turn haters into lovers.


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