Thank you very much. I was glad I got to read the citation earlier today because I had all my tears earlier, but I thought it was very beautifully written. Thank you. This award does mean a lot to me. Danny has received some awards this year, but this one touched me when I received the invitation and I read the story of Lovejoy. I was just particularly moved by his persistence in standing up for what he believed in, by his relentless fight for the rights of others and in the end his dying for his ideals.
My parents, my sister and Mariane are all very honored that you chose to recognize Danny for possessing qualities similar to Lovejoy and the qualities for which this award is given–intelligence, integrity, craftsmanship, character and courage. Danny had all those things though we have had some family discussions as to how Danny was courageous. Danny was very cautious. He refused to go into Afghanistan. He was very careful for his physical safety and that of his colleagues. He even initiated a check-in policy at The Wall Street Journal to ensure reporter safety.
“Danny was an ordinary guy with an ordinary sense of decency, but where he was extraordinary was in staying true to himself and his principles.”
But he was very courageous in a different way. He did not let anyone or anything intimidate him into abandoning his truth or his search for truth. He was not intimidated when his eighth grade teacher held a swastika in his face. My parents were called and he told them about it in a matter of fact way, as if saying, “Upset? Why would I get upset if a teacher wants to make a fool of himself?” He was not intimidated by anti-American demonstrators burning the American flag. He told one of his colleagues, “I want to look in their eyes and see why they hate us so much.” In the end he was not intimidated by his captors into lying about his Jewish identity. “I am Jewish. My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish,” he said, firm in his truth, his truth that of a common humanity. Danny was an ordinary guy with an ordinary sense of decency, but where he was extraordinary was in staying true to himself and his principles.
The night after I read the story of Lovejoy and the description of the award I had a dream and in my dream Danny had a distinct walk. It was kind of like his normal walk, but exaggerated. The walk, the Danny Walk, in my dream embodied integrity, courage and all the qualities of the award. It had another quality, which maybe Lovejoy had. I don’t know. It was in his name though, and it’s joy. Danny had a lot of joy and humor so his walk embodied that too. The Danny Walk was a bouncy, confident, ordinary, yet courageous walk. And in my dream after he died there were many people walking the Danny Walk. The Danny Walk is what the Daniel Pearl Foundation is continuing through projects done in Danny style.
“We believe that Danny is a powerful symbol to inspire people all over the world to reduce cultural, ethnic and religious hatred and to move even beyond tolerance to the kind of acceptance, respect and even celebration that Danny had for people from every background. “
So, we are planning another global music day next year where people can unite again in the stand against intolerance. We’re also sponsoring a youth writing contest on developing solutions to intolerance and we’re planning a recording of a song that Danny wrote called “The World Is Not Such a Bad Place.” When Danny went to visit a friend who was pregnant and overdue, he took his two band mates with him and he thought maybe the baby was scared to come out, scared of this world. So, on the spot he started signing, “Come out, come out. The world is not such a bad place.” And then he proceeds to describe the beauties of the world. So, we’re planning a recording of this song with stars from the Muslim countries and from Western countries to send a message for hope.
We believe that Danny is a powerful symbol to inspire people all over the world to reduce cultural, ethnic and religious hatred and to move even beyond tolerance to the kind of acceptance, respect and even celebration that Danny had for people from every background. Thank you on behalf of my parents, Ruth and Judea, and my sister, Michelle, and Danny’s wife, Mariane, and his son, Adam. Thank you for this award, which symbolizes the qualities that Danny had in his life that have touched so many people in his death.