Monday, November 05, 2007

Because He Was A Jew

After thinking about Daniel Pearl, the journalist from the WSJ that was beheaded by terrorists in 2002, I decided to go rent the movie based on his story, "A Mighty Heart."

It occurred to me while watching the film, and it was an excellent film, that the reason political type movies don't do well isn't because of Hollywood bias, as much as we would like to believe so, it is because they are too difficult for most people to understand.

This world's problems are too big. They are too vast and horrible. When I try to focus on terrorism across the world, across these years, I can't wrap my mind around it. And I am one of those few who are really interested in it. But the truth is that when I see films like this and I try to grasp such evil in the world, I just cry.

Most people don't want to go to the movies to cry. Most people don't want to go to movies to understand political or religious situations.

The movie tried to guide the viewer through the maze of reasons that Daniel Pearl was killed. It hinted at the reason being the way we treated our prisoners at Gitmo. It hinted that the reason was that the terrorists that held Daniel believed him to be a CIA operative. But the real reason Daniel Pearl was murdered is simple and it was addressed in the movie. It was at the beginning and the ending. And I am sure Daniel Pearl's widow had a lot to do with making sure that happened.

The reason Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered was because he was a Jew. Plain and simple.

I'm going to put this simply for you because the movie makes it much too complicated, which is one of the problems of these kinds of movies. The group that kidnapped Daniel called themselves "The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty." But that was just a made up organization that no one had ever heard of before. The man convicted and sentenced to death in July of 2002 for the kidnapping and death of Daniel Pearl is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British national of Pakistani origin. (He is still alive, on appeal)

The movie briefly mentions al Qaeda, which is one of it's glaring errors. The truth of the matter is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was a member of the innermost circle of Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. In 1994 he was operating terrorists training camps in Afghanistan and had earned the title of bin Laden's "special son." And then there is this last bit of information. U.S. authorities named Saeed Sheikh as a key figure in the funding of the 9/11 attacks.

Were you all aware of these things? Neither was I. Nor does the movie educate us on these very important matters.

Why is it important? Because as many splinter groups of Islamic fanatics there are, things always seem to funnel back to the monsters that attacked us on 9-11. And it occurred to me while watching this movie that as much as the Islamic fanatics hate America, there is one group they hate much more. The Jews.

At the beginning of the movie Daniel Pearl makes the mistake of admitting to one of the terrorist "clerics" he is interviewing, that he is Jewish. They don't mention the Jewish aspect again until the end. They do not show the beheading in the movie, which is understandable of course, but when you think about the gore and violence we see every day on the movie screen, why should we avoid it when seeing it will teach us a most important lesson about our enemy? I haven't seen the movie, but I'm sure in "Rendition" they show all the brutality of the U.S. interrogation, don't they? When the movie about Abu Ghraib is made, and it will be, I'm positive that every inhumane act will be put before us. Hollywood will be hoping to teach us to never let it happen again. Yet, Daniel's murder is censored completely from this movie.

At the end of the movie it shows Daniel on the video of his captors declaring himself a Jew. He talks about a street named after his Jewish grandfather. His wife had said that Daniel had not been a religious man, but in the end he embraced what he was, a Jew. And he died because of it.

Did you know that On April 16th 2007 Daniel was added to the Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach as the first non-Holocaust victim? His father, Judea Pearl, said that he wanted to remind generations to come that "The forces of barbarity and evil are still active in our world. The Holocaust didn't finish in 1945."

So many things I didn't know about Daniel Pearl. So many things the movie, whether intentional or not, failed to say about this man.

This article in the WSJ has Tom Jennings, a longtime friend of Daniel's remembing this: "This was the man who wrote a song for my son days before his birth, encouraging him into the world. The song was called, 'The World Is Not a Bad Place."

But this world is a bad place. We, here in America, live our cushy lives and argue about stupid things, while the dark face of hatred simmers with ideas on how to kill us. Not because of war or land, but because of who we are. If we are Jewish. If we are Christians. If we are simply Americans. We are wished dead by our enemy.

The recent news of the defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq should really be a cause of true celebration here, but we are all caught up in our own political agendas and Presidential campaigns to realize how significant it is.

Daniel Pearl's father is right. The holocaust didn't finish in 1945 and it's time we all faced it. The story of Daniel Pearl came and went. The movie came and went. No one seems to want to remember the truth about the death of this man. I want us to never forget Daniel Pearl.

Daniel wasn't a soldier, he was not in war, he was not a political prisoner. He was an innocent American citizen. Daniel Pearl's head was cut off by those who attacked us because he was a Jew.