Ruth Pearl, Mother of Murdered Reporter Daniel Pearl, Dies at 85


Ruth Pearl, the mom of Daniel Pearl, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who was brutally murdered by Muslim extremists in Pakistan in 2002, thrusting her and her husband, Judea, into the worldwide highlight, died on July 20 at her dwelling in Los Angeles. She was 85.

Judea Pearl confirmed her dying however didn’t specify the trigger.

Mrs. Pearl, who was born in Iraq, was a retired software program developer dwelling in Los Angeles when Daniel, 38, The Journal’s South Asia bureau chief, was kidnapped whereas reporting in Karachi. Despite pleas from his dad and mom and determined efforts to win his launch by the U.S. authorities, his kidnappers beheaded him on Feb. 1, 2002.

Daniel’s homicide got here simply months after the terrorists assaults of Sept. 11, 2001, and the next invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and its allies. His murderers singled him out as a result of he was American and Jewish, a incontrovertible fact that many observers stated underlined the notably virulent menace posed by Islamic radicals.

At first, the Pearls tried to keep away from the information media, releasing statements and talking to a small quantity of reporters.

They opened up later within the yr to advertise a ebook of Daniel’s journalism they’d edited and to announce a basis they’d established in his title. They appeared on speak exhibits like “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Larry King Live,” however the expertise was tough — whereas they wished to speak about his legacy, many reporters and speak present hosts wished to dwell on his homicide.

“We want to keep our privacy,” Mrs. Pearl told The Los Angeles Times in 2002. “We don’t want our pictures in the paper. We want to deal with our grief in private. We don’t want to be talking about it.”

In 2003 the Pearls revealed “I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl,” which included essays by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kirk Douglas and the Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer. Mr. Pearl stated that his spouse, who did most of the modifying and contributed an essay, thought of it her biggest accomplishment.

“Like many generations before us, we are now embarking on a new war against anti-Semitism and fanaticism,” she wrote. “Driven by the vision of Danny — a proud Jew who continues to inspire people with his values and dignity — we will win this war, as did our ancestors for many generations.”

In 2007 they have been again within the information with the discharge of the movie “A Mighty Heart,” primarily based on a memoir by Daniel Pearl’s widow, Mariane Pearl, and starring Angelina Jolie and Dan Futterman. That winter they attended the White House Hanukkah reception, the place they lit their household’s menorah.

Eventually the eye died down, and the Pearls have been in a position to give attention to their basis’s charitable efforts, which included fellowships for Muslim journalists, college lecture sequence and an annual music pageant; their son, along with being an acclaimed reporter, was a classically skilled violinist.

But Daniel’s homicide continued to hang-out them, and never solely as a reminiscence. Though his killers had been rapidly arrested and sentenced — one to dying, three to life in jail — they grew to become causes célèbres in Pakistan. High-profile efforts to win their launch rapidly gained traction, and the Pearls stayed engaged with the proceedings from Los Angeles.

In 2020, a Pakistani courtroom overturned the murder convictions and decreased the sentences for kidnapping to time served. The Pearls, by a lawyer, appealed, as did the Pakistani authorities; the Pakistani Supreme Court is scheduled to contemplate each appeals later this summer season.

In a video the couple released in June 2020, Mrs. Pearl, who by then was battling respiratory issues, appealed to the Pakistani individuals to assist their efforts.

“There’s not a single day that we do not miss our son,” she stated.

She was born Eveline Rejwan on Nov. 11, 1935, in Baghdad. Her father, Joseph, was a tailor and ran an import enterprise, and her mom, Victoria (Abada) Rejwan, was a homemaker.

Along together with her husband, Mrs. Pearl is survived by her sister, Carmella; her daughters Michelle and Tamara; and 5 grandchildren.

Eveline was 5 when a failed coup led to an outbreak of anti-Jewish violence throughout Iraq. In what got here to be often called the Farhud, Jewish-owned shops have been ransacked and at least 179 Jews have been killed. Her household hid of their dwelling for days, protected by Arab neighbors, who advised would-be looters, “There are no Jews here.”

Soon afterward the household moved to a suburb, however the violence continued. Joseph was crushed whereas using his bicycle, ensuing within the loss of imaginative and prescient in a single eye; he later needed to bribe a police officer to free his two sons after their arrest on false fees. Others have been much less fortunate. Mrs. Pearl recalled seeing the our bodies of Iraqi Jews hanging from gallows in a sq..

“Growing up as a Jewish child in Baghdad,” she wrote in “I Am Jewish,” “left me with recurring nightmares of being chased by a knife-wielding Arab in the school’s stairway while 2,000 schoolmates screamed hysterically.”

In the late 1940s she labored with an underground Zionist motion that helped Jews sneak into British-controlled Palestine. As half of her preparation to do the identical, she started to make use of the Hebrew title Ruth.

In 1948 her brothers have been smuggled into Israel, then newly unbiased, and in 1951 she and the remainder of her household — her dad and mom and two sisters — adopted them as half of a mass exodus of Iraqi Jews.

Mrs. Pearl served within the Israeli Navy earlier than attending Technion — Israel Institute of Technology, the place she studied electrical engineering. It was the place she met Mr. Pearl.

The couple married in 1960 and moved to New Jersey to pursue graduate levels, he at New York Polytechnic (right now the Tandon School of Engineering at N.Y.U.) and she or he at the Newark Institute of Technology (right now the New Jersey Institute of Technology).

In 1966 they moved with their three younger youngsters to Los Angeles, the place Mr. Pearl taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Mrs. Pearl labored as a software program developer.

Mrs. Pearl had retired by the point of her son’s homicide, and afterward she threw herself into working the Daniel Pearl Foundation. Her grief drove her, she stated, however so did her recollections of rising up in Iraq, and her need to counter the hatred each she and her son had encountered.

“Dehumanizing people is the first step in inviting violence like Nazism and fascism,” she stated in a 2014 interview. “We have to do our share, and that’s the part that’s the most difficult to get people to realize. It’s very easy to dehumanize. I’m sure the killers of Danny had no sense of identifying with the humanity that connects us. For them Danny was an object.”



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