Thursday, August 8, 2002

A Member of the Family

A Member of the Family
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 8, 2002

Journalist. Jewish. American.

Daniel Pearl was senselessly slaughtered for having three strikes against him in the eyes of his murderers in Pakistan.

He is yet another casualty in the valiant war against terror being fought by the United States of America – a war that began with the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and the attack on the Pentagon in Arlington last September 11.

The heinous butchery of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl this week must be regarded for what it was – another shot fired in the war against the United States, western culture and Judeo-Christian values.

As a brother in the fraternity of journalists Pearl represented what the people in the fight against America fear – a free press guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Pearl risked his life to present to the world the stories of the atrocities occurring in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as other parts of the Islamic world – a world where he spent six of the last 12 years of his career as a foreign correspondent.

Pearl risked his life as a member of the Jewish faith merely by entering a knowingly hostile Islamic world. In his final living and breathing minutes Pearl allegedly said he was Jewish as was his father, just prior to having throat slashed by his murdering captors. Pearl represented what rarely, if at all, exists in the Islamic world – the freedom to worship openly as he so chooses – again, a freedom guaranteed in America by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

As an American, Pearl represented a free and open society, the likes of which hardly exists in the Islamic world – a world where his so-called fundamentalist captors raised hypocrisy to the highest level. A world that attempts to shunt the academic growth of it females, while America not only encourages education of all its citizens, females currently represent greater than 50 percent of all law students in law school.

Those who knew Daniel Pearl described him as a charming gentleman, conscientious in his work and possessing talents as a cook and violinist playing both classical and rock and roll music. He is survived by his parents and wife – seven months pregnant with the son who will never meet his father.

Daniel Pearl’s death must not go in vain. The war against terrorism must be stepped up to demonstrate that the murder of American attempting to do his job will not be overlooked or taken lightly. Journalists must always take precautions while on dangerous assignments, but should not shrink away from such opportunities or champions of terror win.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Alexandria, VA.

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