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Daniel Pearl’s Father Laments ‘Moral Equivalence’ of ‘A Mighty Heart’

By Daniel Treiman

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Angelina Jolie and Dan Futerman

The father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is criticizing “A Mighty Heart,” the new movie about his son’s abduction, suggesting that it falls into the trap of “moral equivalence.” In an article for The New Republic Online, Judea Pearl writes:

You can see traces of this logic in the film’s comparison of Danny’s abduction with Guantánamo–it opens with pictures from the prison–and its comparison of Al Qaeda militants with CIA agents. You can also see it in the comments of the movie’s director, Michael Winterbottom, who wrote on The Washington Post’s website that A Mighty Heart and his previous film The Road to Guantánamo “are very similar. Both are stories about people who are victims of increasing violence on both sides. There are extremists on both sides who want to ratchet up the levels of violence and hundreds of thousands of people have died because of this.”

Drawing a comparison between Danny’s murder and the detainment of suspects in Guantánamo is precisely what the killers wanted, as expressed in both their e-mails and the murder video. Obviously Winterbottom did not mean to echo their sentiments, and certainly not to justify their demands or actions. Still, I am concerned that aspects of his movie will play into the hands of professional obscurers of moral clarity.

Indeed, following an advance screening of A Mighty Heart, a panelist representing the Council on American-Islamic Relations reportedly said, “We need to end the culture of bombs, torture, occupation, and violence. This is the message to take from the film.” The message that angry youngsters are hearing is unfortunate: All forms of violence are equally evil; therefore, as long as one persists, others should not be ruled out. This is precisely the logic used by Mohammed Siddiqui Khan, one of the London suicide bombers, in his videotape on Al Jazeera. “Your democratically elected government,” he told his British countrymen, “continues to perpetrate atrocities against my people … . [W]e will not stop.”

Danny’s tragedy demands an end to this logic. There can be no comparison between those who take pride in the killing of an unarmed journalist and those who vow to end such acts–no ifs, ands, or buts. Moral relativism died with Daniel Pearl, in Karachi, on January 31, 2002.

Read the full article here. (Registration is required, but free.)

Hat tip: Jewlicious.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Film, A Mighty Heart, Daniel Pearl, Judea Pearl

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Comments
Jeff Thu. Jul 5, 2007

The United States government has so far killed more than 500,000 people in the course of its illegal invasion of Iraq, continues to torture on a large scale and continues to fund the School of Americas, the world's largest torture training center. It is truly very sad that Daniel Pearl died as he did. The fact remains, however, that the United States promotes and practices torture on a far larger scale than any of its proclaimed enemies. These facts teach us much about ourselves as American citizens and about moral relativism. What they teach us, unfortunately, is very different from what Daniel Pearl's grieving father would have us believe.




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