But why exactly did Omar and those connected to him, from the ISI to Al Qaeda, want Daniel Pearl dead? LÚvy concluded that they murdered him because of a combination of reasons. First, because he was a journalist. LÚvy had found that official Pakistanis and radical Pakistanis alike could not grasp the idea of an independent journalist, and thus found the American-Jewish journalist intrinsically threatening; they could not believe that he could be anything other than an agent of the Mossad and the CIA. Second, because he was an American. LÚvy had learned from his conversations in that part of the world that hatred of America was such that one could not admit to the possibility that all Americans were not all alike. They were all evil, they were all guilty, they were all open targets. In such an environment, no one cared what Daniel Pearl thought, said, or wrote about America and the world. He was guilty by birth. LÚvy comments:
And then there is the third reason why Pearl died: because he was a Jew. He was a Jew in a country where Judaism is not a religion or even an identity but a crime and a sin. LÚvy argues that Pearl was a victim of "modern anti-Semitism," that, "without renouncing any of the old clichÚs . . . reintegrates them in a system where the very name of Israel has become synonymous with all the worst in this world." This new anti-Semitism, LÚvy writes:
Finally, there is a fourth reason, which complicates everything, and of which LÚvy is less admittedly less certain. LÚvy speculates that Daniel Pearl died because he knew too much; specifically, he had uncovered certain secrets that none of the parties involved in his murder, specifically the ISI and Al Qaeda, could afford to let Pearl publicize. After carefully retracing Daniel Pearl's last steps, LÚvy hypothesizes that he had uncovered hard evidence that Pakistan had assisted Bin Laden with his attempts to acquire the technology to make nuclear weapons. The evidence he presents, though far from conclusive, certainly gives one pause for thought.
LÚvy is convinced that what he encountered in Pakistan was nothing less than evil, a word he does not shy away from. Unlike so many European intellectuals, moreover, he does not scoff at Bush's rhetoric of "rogue states" and an "axis of evil." "I affirm," he declares near the end of his book, "that Pakistan is the most roguish of the rogue states today." "I affirm," he continues,
BHL characterizes the evil he encountered in Pakistan in language similar to that of Arendt, while sharing her reticence to actually define what evil is in itself. There are clear similarities: both Nazis and jihadists were interested in going beyond law in the name of some transcendent truth.. They also did not want to share the earth with certain types of people, whole categories defined more often than not by birth rather then actions or belief. And they wanted to kill Jews.
Radical Evil: Bernard Henry Levy on
the death of Daniel Pearl
Trembling Before You
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