Slain journalist’s father working to create dialogue, end hatred
By MEG BARONE, Staff writer
Connecticut Post, Wed, 15 Nov 2006
FAIRFIELD – Judea Pearl, father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, has not yet found forgiveness for the Muslim extremists who beheaded his son in Pakistan nearly four years ago.
But he has found the strength to rise above his tragic loss to work globally at “reducing, diminishing [and] containing the tsunami of hate that has swept our planet.”
Pearl gave the 9th annual Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian lecture Monday night at Fairfield University, telling the audience about the tools he has employed to fight hatred and ignorance.
The lecture was sponsored by the Frank Jacoby Foundation of Bridgeport in collaboration with the university’s Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies and Open Visions Forum.
Pearl and his wife established the Daniel Pearl Foundation to carry on their son’s legacy through hallmarks of his life – journalism, music and dialogue. In addition to his reporting job, Daniel Pearl was a classically trained violinist.
“You can look at music as sort of a dialogue, not verbal, more on an emotional level,” said Pearl, who initiated Daniel Pearl Music Days, a week of musical events worldwide leading up to Daniel Pearl’s birthday on Oct. 10.
“We do hope, and we do see that happening, people get inspired by the music and by the fact that they are playing as part of a global event. We see that inspiration leading to recognition of the oneness of humanity,” Pearl said.
There are thousands of participants who perform in the music event in more than 60 nations. Fairfield University was part of that celebration this year, said Ellen Umansky, director of Judaic Studies at the university.
“On Oct. 10th, which would have been his 39th birthday, the Latin American Studies program brought in a wonderful Afro-Brazilian Dance Troupe and it was dedicated to the memory of Danny Pearl,” she said.
Umansky said the university honored Judea Pearl for the work he has done since creating the Daniel Pearl Foundation, in particular for his efforts over the last two years.
“Rather than using his son’s death as an occasion to vent anger at Muslims worldwide, he has engaged in a worldwide series of dialogues with Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic scholar born in Pakistan.
He and Judea Pearl for two years have been engaging in public dialogues all around the world about the divisions between Muslims and the west and specifically between Jews and Muslims,” Umansky said.
“The reaction of Danny Pearl’s family is so incredibly moving.
So many other people would walk away from this whole thing just hating Muslims and instead he’s using the occasion of Danny’s death to bring Muslims and Jews together is really quite extraordinary,” Umansky said.M
“What Judea Pearl is trying to do through his foundation is really emphasize that which all of us in the world have in common as opposed to that which divides us,” she said.
Judea Pearl delivered a message from his son, particularly to the young people in the audience. Speaking for Daniel Pearl, Judea said, “You are the hope of the world. The rest of the world is expecting you to deliver. Go ahead and follow my footsteps. Pick up your lap top and your violin and spread sanity.”