Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl

Tonight I saw The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl.

This news-report-like documentary traces the lives of slain journalist Daniel Pearl and the terrorist responsible for his death, Omar Sheikh. Narrator Christine Amanpour shows us their similar upbringings (privileged, strong sense of faith, loving family) and explain that as they aged, Daniel grew more 'global' in a sense, while Omar withdrew from modern British society and adapted fundamentalist beliefs.

I appreciate the background on the killer, but I almost wish he hadn't been given that much airtime.

The Pearl home movies remind us of how much fun Daniel must have been; the calm spirit of his widow and surviving family are a testament to the peace that he stood for. He was truly a man that didn't just believe in tolerance—he believed in acceptance, which makes the way that he was captured and died all the more tragic.

Daniel had an uncommon desire to learn and use that knowledge to bridge undeniable gaps between faiths and cultures. Viewers will get the sense that although cautious, he was almost naive in his trust of strangers. And unforuntately, that false sense of trust led to his kidnapping and untimely death.

It may sound cliché to say that the world lost a hero when Daniel Pearl was murdered, but I don't care. God knows what more he could have accomplished if he had lived.

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