How did you and your wife as parents handle the inevitable bitterness, grief, and desire for revenge following your son's death? How did you manage to turn your grief into something productive and positive?
Revenge is a very natural and useful reaction that evolution has bestowed upon us, because eliminatingthe source of one's pain usually eliminates the threats offuture dangers. With this perspective of mind, we do not resist revenge-we join it. But we view the source ofour pain and the threat of future dangers to be, not the killers themselves, but the hatred that drovethem into committing this horrific crime, the kind of demonizing hatred that Bin Laden and his ideologicalsupporters have been spreading in the past two decades,be it explicitly or implicitly.Hatred killed our son, and hatred we will fight for the rest of our lives, with vengeance and tenacity.
In my letter to the people of Pakistan (published inKarachi, July 16, 2002) I wrote: "The loss of Danny will forever tear my heart, but I cannot think of a greater consolation than seeing your children [in Pakistan] pointing at Danny's pictureone day and saying: `This is the kind of person Iwant to be. Like him, I want to be truthful, and friendly, and open-minded.'"
This is our vision of fighting hatred. And the Daniel Pearl Foundation was created to support this vision.
On Beliefnet's Memorial page for Daniel, there were prayers from people of all faiths, including Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Hindus. Why do you think Daniel's fate united people of different faiths?
One unifying element was people's recognition thatDaniel's fate represents an unprecedented turning point in the history of cruelty, and a painful setback in human evolution.The murder weapon in Danny's casewas aimed not at a faceless enemy but at a gentle human being, the faceof whom became familiar to millions of people around theworld. Danny's killers spent a whole week with him,they fed him, talked to him, and watched him 24 hours a day-they must have seen his gentleness and boundless humanity. Killing him so brutally, and before a video camera, marks a new apex in man's inhumanity to man.
Many people were thus shocked to realize that certainideologies of hate are capable of destroying, overnight,all the safeguards of humanity that our religions and institutions have labored to cultivate through centuries of civilization.
Multifaith coalition is needed to stress the point thattoday's global conflict is not a conflict between religions,but a conflict between a culture open to diversity-and that includes many Muslims-and one that is threatened by openness.
What kind of a person was Danny, and did he have a vision or goal? What are some incidents from his life that show the kind of person he was?
If one can imagine love of life, love of people, love ofmusic, humor, honesty, dignity, and professionalismall embodied in one person, that embodiment was Danny.Friends knew that, when you invite Danny for dinner you betterprepare two or three servings, for he is likely to show up witha Bulgarian musician that he met on the subway and a homeless comedian that he talked into a joke-telling contest. No one can remember an occasion in which two persons wouldfight in the presence of Danny. He had a magic toconnect people, to disarm anger, to charm adversity, to joke away differences, to playfully expose pettiness, andto skillfully build common ground.
In fact, the memories that he left behind constitute one of thefew glimpses of hope that we currently see for civilization.His life and work are a proof that human biology is capable ofsustaining a pure form of humanity, borderless in scope,and unshaken by adversity and conflict.
How are his wife and baby son doing?
Mariane and Adam are doing really fine. Mariane is fullyinvolved in a book about Danny that she hopes to completelater this year. Adam is a source of joy and hope to the wholefamily. He is a curious and smiley boy with Danny's disposition;he appears to accept the laws of physics for what they are, butawaits the right opportunity to make an improvement.