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Pearl’s Family and Friends Gather

April 22, 2002

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Family and friends gathered Sunday to remember slain journalist Daniel Pearl for his intelligence, charm and dedication to making the world a better place.

More than 150 people attended the public memorial service at Birmingham High School, where Pearl graduated with honors in 1981. The service included music from the school choir, which sang ``A Prayer for Peace,″ and tributes to Pearl by his friends and family.

His good friend and former classmate at the San Fernando Valley school, Robert Massing, remembered Pearl for his intelligence and drive. He told a story about how Pearl once furiously wrote an essay in English class, running through sheets of paper with his hand to his forehead even as time expired.

``It was times like that I wanted to be Danny Pearl more than anyone else,″ Massing said. ``He had so much depth. He would keep going on until he finished what he had to say.″

Pearl, 38, South Asia bureau chief for the Journal, was kidnapped Jan. 23 while researching links between Pakistani extremists and shoe-bombing suspect Richard C. Reid. A grisly videotape received Feb. 22 by U.S. diplomats in Karachi showed Pearl dead. His body has not been found.

Massing said Pearl struggled with career decisions, but in the end chose journalism to make a difference.

``We all have that ability to ask the question, ‘What can we do to make the world a better place?’ If all of us ask that question, it’s obvious the world would be a better place,″ Massing said.

Michelle Pearl, 32, quoted what her older brother wrote in a freshman questionnaire at Stanford University: ``My dream is to be some kind of writer, a novelist, essayist or journalist.″

``I hope one of the good things that can come from this tragedy is that we all live our lives to the fullest like Danny did,″ Michelle Pearl said.

Pearl’s father, Judea Pearl, said that he feels as if his son is still alive.

``He whose legacy keeps growing is not exactly dead. He who keeps on making a difference in the world is not exactly dead,″ Judea Pearl said.

A representative of Gov. Gray Davis read a letter from the governor praising Pearl for ``his courage, his eloquence and integrity.″

In honor of Pearl, who played the violin, Zine said violins will be donated to his elementary school. It has also started a fund in Pearl’s memory to provide violins to students.

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On the Net:

http://www.danielpearlfoundation.org

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