I AM A JEW AND MY FATHER WAS A JEW:
DANNY PEARL AND THE FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP
In the summer of 1963, at the height of the Cold War, and within spitting distance of the thermonuclear abyss, American president, John Kennedy stood before a crowd of Germans in West Berlin. In Bostonian cadenced German, he proclaimed, Ich bin ein Berliner—“I am a Berliner”. At the time, that wall-divided city was held fast by the claws and sinews of a formidable adversary, the formerly super-powerful, Soviet Union. The world's memory of German responsibility for the Second World War was then less than two decades old. It was an act of supreme political courage for an American president to identify himself and the cause of freedom with the besieged former enemies of the United States and the world. This was leadership.
In the spring of 1965, American president, Lyndon Johnson, told the American people and the people of the world, "We shall overcome". In this, he consciously adopted the words of the hymn of the Civil Rights Movement. The occasion was the death of a voter registration marcher in Selma, Alabama. Johnson identified himself with the cause of those who risked their lives fighting for freedom. This too was leadership.
It is reported that the kidnappers and killers of Danny Pearl, made a videotape of his murder. Pearl is heard to say, "I am a Jew and my father was a Jew." His throat is cut. He is decapitated, and his brains are thrown around the room.
There is an outcry. His killing was barbarous. But what is barbarous is not that he was killed, or even how he was killed, horrible though it was. What is barbarous is that he was killed in this manner because he was a Jew and his father was a Jew. It is the same kind of killing that has been going on in Israel since 1948, and before 1948. It is precisely what is barbarous about the killing of Israeli Jews by Muslims and it is about the failure of leadership in the West and in the Islamic world.
It is about the failure of a single Muslim cleric or head of state to say, "You cannot kill Jews, because I am a Jew and my father was a Jew." It is about the failure of the Secretary General of the United Nations and the failure of every single leader of a Western nation to say, "You must stop killing people because they are Jews, because I am a Jew and my father was a Jew." It is about the failure of editors of major media outlets to say, "You must stop killing people because they are Jews, because I am a Jew and my father was a Jew."
Danny Pearl would not have been kidnapped, he would not have had his throat slit, and he would not have been decapitated if he was not a Jew whose father was a Jew. The children who have been blown to pieces at pizza parlors and teenagers whose blood washed the floors at dance halls in Israel would not have been slaughtered if they were not Jews and their fathers were not Jews.
We hear much about why the situation in the Middle East is so intractable and so complex. Surely, the conflict is also about political power, land, oil, cultural values, etc. However, in the final analysis, it is the fact of Israel's Jewishness that is unacceptable. All Muslim regimes, not just the frontline states, continue to teach the hatred of Jews that enable Muslims to commit these atrocities. In other words, if every other problem were resolved, the matter would still be unresolvable because of the race hatred.
If we pull back the veil of hypocrisy, it really is not so complex after all. It is time to stop pussy-footing and admit that it is about a people and nations who think it is just fine to kill people who are Jews and whose fathers are Jews. It is about people who think that Jews whose fathers are Jews are not entitled to have a state of their own. But it is really about the failure of leadership. The failure of those who should, but do not have the courage to say, "I am a Jew and my father is a Jew."
(Bob Friedland is a lawyer in Victoria, British Columbia)
Daniel Pearl - 1963-2002
PEARL’S RITUAL MURDER:
A WARNING TO US ALL
Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl set out on an assignment to try to understand the outrage of the Islamic extremists and “why they hate us so”, a question asked by many North Americans post-Sep.11, including President Bush.
In his writings, Pearl sought to explain the Islamic world to his readers, hoping to shed light on the other side of the coin, to bridge the gap between two very different worlds. He saw his mission as trying to bring peace through an understanding of Islamic world suffering. Few could have done it better than Pearl.
Daniel Pearl paid for his understanding with his life.
A cell of Islamic extremists, apparently linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network and well-known to Indian, Pakistani and U.S. authorities, chopped off his head with a blunt weapon after slitting his throat proudly for the video camera. The last scene of the videotape shows his head separated from his body. No doubt this video will be used to recruit more holy war (jihad) members.
There was no justification or excuse for this barbaric act of savagery, especially when we pause to consider what Daniel Pearl was attempting to accomplish. These people--if one can call them that--have no place in civilization. Lacking total regard for human life, they are beyond understanding, the atrocities they commit beyond explanation.
Searching for underlying motives and “root causes” of Islamic rage, as the British Independent's Robert Fisk continues doing ("brutality is entirely the product of others") is a futile exercise. "Claims of root causes are distractions from the real work at hand", writes New York Times cultural critic Edward Rothstein. They absolve the perpetrators of all evil, and bounce the blame back to the victims themselves. This suggests that the victims brought it upon themselves for having caused this outrage in the first place.
The "real work at hand" is not poverty, contrary to Ted Turner's recent claim at Brown University (many of the Sep.11 hijackers came from very wealthy families), or U.S. support for Israel, as American essayist Susan Sontag insists. It is a deeply engrained hatred of all that is non-Islamic, nourished for years by a pervasive, hateful rhetoric. It is precisely this brutal hatred, these chants of “kill the Jews” and “death to America” permeating the Middle East and Pakistan, that have paved the way for these atrocious acts of savagery. Last week, the end of the annual Moslem pilgrimage (or Hajj) to Islam's holiest place, Mecca, was marked by such chants coming from thousands of Iranian pilgrims.
Anti-semitism is one of the main driving forces of Islamic extremism. That's why Pearl was killed: because he was an American who was also a Jew and an Israeli. Just before they yanked his head back and slashed his throat, Pearl’s captors forced him to blurt “I am a Jew, my mother is a Jew”.
According to Ahmed Saeed Sheikh, the only conspirator arrested in connection with the Jan.23 kidnapping, Pearl was targeted because he was a Jew. Islamic extremists hate the Jews as virulently as Hitler did, and encourage their followers, as did a recently-arrested British Moslem cleric, to murder Jews. They believe that the Koran commands them to fight the enemies of Islam, the Jewish and Christian infidels, who stand in the way of the creation of an Islamic world order. In fact, their greatest glory next to achieving martyrdom, is to kill as many Americans, Israelis and Jews as possible. And Pearl represented all of the aforementioned.
The ritual murder of Daniel Pearl should be the only proof the Western world needs that there can be no peace with these extremists and their networks of supporters worldwide. Their anti-semitic and anti-American poisonous views have already spread to Asia, Europe and the U.S. Britain’s al-Muhajiroun, a UK-based militant Islamic group, is recruiting dozens of non-Moslems to join the fight for an Islamic Republic of Great Britain, according to London's Observer. Furthermore, hundreds of British recruits have already trained in bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan during the past few years.
In Southeast Asia, the al-Qaeda terrorist network stretches through Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and over to the Philippines, where the Islamic extremist group Abu Sayyaf, linked to al-Qaeda, is beheading captured government soldiers with machetes, on videotape. One of its three American hostages was beheaded last year. Abu Sayyaf, like other Islamic extremist groups, is fighting for an independent Islamic state.
Islamic extremists have increasingly become a clear and present danger not only overseas, but on our own continent. North America is home to potentially thousands of terrorist “sleeper” cells capable of far worse than Sep.11 (see the New York Post, January 31, 2002). Think otherwise? There’s reason to believe that those four Moroccan nationals arrested last week in Rome were preparing a cyanide attack, either on the U.S. embassy or on the Italian capital’s water supply.
So instead of fretting about the plight of the al-Qaeda, al-Muhajiroun and Taliban terrorist prisoners in Cuba--who were treated to a special lamb meal to celebrate their Moslem festival of sacrifice Eid al-Adha--we should remember Daniel Pearl, murdered because he was an American and a Jew. Then think twice about the safety of the world, lest we too fall victim to the war on Western civilization being waged by evil forces in the name of Islam.