Victor Bloom MD
I wonder if Daniel Pearl was named after the biblical Daniel. Daniel plays a key role in the famous Old Testament tale of Susanna and the Elders. This is a dramatic story which has found its way to many great classic paintings and memorable poetry.
Susanna was the refined and beautiful wife of a Jew who was the trusted counsel to a wealthy man who let his family the free use of his garden. Iniquity came from Babylon, so the bible said, and corrupt judges were sent to rule there. Two such venerable judges observed Susanna bathing in the garden and hid themselves. They were overcome with lust and came upon her, wishing to lie with her. She refused. They threatened to make up a story that she was with a young man, if she did not give in. She chose certain death rather than give in to their passions and her only hope was her trust in God, who saw everything.
Enraged by her refusal, the old men slandered her and the assembly believed the old men because they were authorities and condemned Susanna to death. She appealed to her Lord and according to the story, God entrusted a young lad by the name of Daniel to save her. He was able to appease the crowd by reminding them that they had condemned her without examination and without knowing the facts.
He had a clever method of discerning whether or not the old men were lying. He had them separated and questioned each of them alone, without the presence of the other. He asked each one in turn, under which tree did Susanna lie with the young man. One old man said it was the mastic tree and the other, an evergreen oak. So it was clear they were lying.
He told the old men that the angel of the Lord is waiting with his sword to saw you in two that He may destroy you both. They were put to death according to the law of Moses. And it is said, "thus innocent blood was saved that day."
Ironically, the biblical Daniel's namesake was not saved on a certain day. Daniel Pearl was murdered by his captors because he was an American and a Jew. The Al Qaeda Jihad is for Muslims to kill Americans and Jews. However the majority of Muslims are peace-loving and to them 'jihad' is the struggle against inner base desires, which are lustful and murderous. Would that Daniel's captors could know the real reason why he walked into the proverbial lion's den.
Daniel Pearl was a young journalist, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He was not a spy or an Israeli agent. If he was a young idealist, as I suspect, he was not just looking for a scoop, a sensationalistic story. That is not the kind of newspaper the Wall Street Journal is. He was looking for an opportunity to interview members of Al Qaeda so that he could report their philosophy and discover their rationale, how the murdering of Americans and Jews could possibly advance their cause. If they would have allowed him, he would have asked the tough question--- how can you be followers of Allah and kill people?
Maybe he did, and maybe he tried to insert some element of reason or principle or humanism, and maybe that was among the reasons they killed him the way they did. The grisly video showed the terrorists forcing Daniel to say that his father was Jewish, his mother was Jewish and he was Jewish, and they decapitated him. If it was not clear to everyone before, it should be abundantly clear now, that this is a war against evil, against barbarism.
There was a mullah in ancient times who preached a certain version of the Qu'ran, in which Allah was to have said--- never kill a Christian or a Jew, because they are The People of the Book. Perhaps some Islamic scholars reading this can quote his name, but it is a shame that in the 21st century, the most peaceful interpretation of the Qu'ran is not strong enough to overwhelm the fanatic fundamentalist terrorists.
I wonder if Daniel Pearl knew of his biblical namesake, or that the biblical Daniel was an agent of God's justice? I wonder if he knew that the lustful and corrupt Babylonian judges were destroyed by the law of Moses. "Thus, innocent blood was saved that day." The day Daniel Pearl was murdered was not a day that innocent blood was saved. How many more innocent civilians will be killed before civilization brings humanity back to every human?
Dr. Bloom is a psychiatrist in Grosse Pointe Park and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry. He welcomes comments to his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.