Statement by Judea and Ruth Pearl read at the New York rally by Brian Dennehy on December 5 2009
On behalf of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, we wish to join you today in a call to reverse Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try America’s new-type of enemies in New York Federal court.
We wish to add to your rally the perspective of our own personal tragedy which, in many ways, has come to symbolize the depth of inhumanity that has swept our planet in the 21st century, and the sense of urgency with which this planet is currently watching your rally, in New York City, a rally that may very well hold the key to the future of open society.
We, who witnessed the darkest side of hell, and have since spent every moment of our lives studying the anatomy of terror, we refuse to accept the strategy of normalization that Holder’s decision represents. Terror is a crime against society, and should not be tried in the same court as crimes against individuals or against a particular country.
Let us make it perfectly clear. We are not concerned about the safety issues that this trial poses to New York City — we trust our law enforcement officers. Nor are we concerned about the anguish of our children who will be seeing the memories and values of their loved ones mocked and ridiculed in the court room — they have known greater pains before. We are concerned about the millions of angry youngsters, among them potential terrorists, who will be watching this trial unfold on Al Jazeera TV and come to the realization that America has caved in to Al Qaeda’s demands for publicity. The atrocity of 9/11 and the brutal murder of Daniel Pearl are vivid reminders of terrorists’ craving to dramatize their perceived grievances against the West.
Today, America has given them an even lauder mega-phone — in the best theater in town — and thus signaled to thousands of would-be terrorists that joining Al Qaeda or other terror organizations is one way to obtain that craved-for mega-phone.
We who have studied the anatomy of terrorism cannot accept the logic that terror has no country therefore it cannot be defined, named and fought with the same determination and creativity that civilized society has fought other existential threats since the invention of gun powder. These include high-seas piracy, the introduction of poison gas and the threat of nuclear weapons; all were contained by creative changes in international law and the establishment of new legal categories. The invention of the suicide belt is of no lesser threat.
Terror is an ideology that elevates one’s grievances above the norms of civilized society and, like any epidemic of global dimension it must be fought by attending to the distinct mechanisms that transmit and propagate the disease.
In 2002, the international community has given America a moral mandate to fight the new epidemic with all the necessary instruments, including a new court system and new legal regimes. The decision to try the arch-symbols of terror in ordinary criminal court, using traditional legal instruments, constitutes a betrayal of that mandate.
Mr. Attorney General, our children and grand-children are imploring you today: Please reclaim America’s mandate to secure a brighter future for our troubled world!
Judea and Ruth Pearl
Los Angeles, California
(source: 911NeverForget.us where you'll find links to pictures of the rally)