From The Sunday Times,
November 6, 2005


Remembering Daniel Pearl


Distinguished personalities, among them former Presidents of the Republic and ambassadors, gathered at Villa Arrigo, San Pawl tat-Targa, on October 14, for an anniversary dinner to remember Daniel Pearl, the American Jewish foreign correspondent of The Wall Street Journal, who was kidnapped and murdered in Karachi, Pakistan, on January 29, 2002, while investigating the case of convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid.


Hosting the dinner was the indefatigable Shelley Tayar, a leader of the local Jewish community. Ms Tayar said she was also dedicating the evening to her late husband George, who passed away in 1994.


Shelley Tayar intended the dinner not only as a celebration of Daniel’s birthday (he was born on October 10, 1963) but also as a tribute to this refined man of culture (he was an accomplished violinist) and to his ideals of religious tolerance.


To “avenge” his son’s heinous killing (his decapitation by Islamic extremists was shown on video), Professor Judea Pearl set a foundation dedicated to the eradication of fanatical hatred and the spreading of love and understanding among nations and among adherents of different religions. He also set up the Danny Pearl Music Day, which grows in scope every year. This year some 400 concert snd musical events were held in 38 countries.


Shelley Tayar read out greetings from Professor Pearl, from the Imam of Malta and from Lord Janner, president of the Commonwealth Jewish Council.


To provide the musical touch at the dinner, Shelley Tayar engaged Russian accordionist Yuri Chryguine, who lives in Malta, and saxophonist Sammy Murgo. Actually it was more than a touch, because Yuri played several classical melodies around each table in the first half of the programme, while Sammy paid individual musical tributes to practically every guest present – with the tunes suggested by Shelley, of course!


The “Jewish” touch – since this was a Sabbath meal and the day after Yom Kippur – goblets of honey were placed on each table, and each one had to look inside the goblet and see themselves smiling in order to have a sweet year…


In a short speech, President Emeritus Guido de Marco, who served as President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1989-90, spoke about the ideals of tolerance and coexistence among nations and the principles upheld by Daniel Pearl and all lovers of peace. He also referred to his contacts with Israeli and Arab leaders and to the prospects of peace in the Middle East. He naturally praised Shelley Tayar’s initiative which was inspired by these lofty ideals.


Among Ms Tayar’s guests were former President Censu Tabone and Mrs Tabone, the American Ambassador, Molly Bordonaro, and her husband Matthew, William Grant, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy and his wife Mrs Knight and their daughter Lindsey, British High Commissioner Vincent Fean and his wife Anne, German Ambassador Georg Merten, Rev. Professor Peter Serracino Inglott, Professor and Mrs Lino Cutajar and their daughter Louise, Dr Rydi Kovacs, Jeff Anderson, public affairs officer at the US Embassy, Wilfred Kenely, Mr and Mrs Giovanni Pappalettera, Rosette Fenech, Dame Françoise Tempra and her sister Mina, Mr and Mrs Tony Cassar Darien, Dr and Mrs Victor Nezval, Dr and Mrs Andy Welsh, Philip Lingard, Mr and Mrs Laurence Grech, Mr and Mrs Adrian Puglevich, Margaret Zammit and Dr Simon Mercieca.