"My name is Daniel Pearl. I'm a Jewish-American. My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am a Jew."
These are the words Daniel Pearl's son will soon learn were his father's last as he kicks and moves around happily in the security and comfort of his mother's womb. He is due to enter a world very different from where he is now in two months. This new world is a place where he will learn that violence, horror and terror have become the order of the day. It is one in which his father was brutally decapitated and murdered. A father he will never know except through photographs, his writings and his brave mother, Mariane Pearl's, loving memories.
Maysoun Hayek's daughter, now over a week old, has already opened her eyes to this terrible world. She has also made the journey into it without a father. She will never know the father, only 22-years-old, who was brutally murdered by Israeli soldiers as he drove past Israeli checkpoints to make sure his baby entered the world in the safety of a hospital. Like Daniel Pearl's son, she will never know her father except through photographs, loving memories and maybe dreams.
Nazu, a 40-year-old Pashtun mother in Afghanistan, as well as her daughters have also seen the horror of this terrorism- and violence-filled world. She and her daughters, the oldest of whom is 14, have been raped by soldiers of the Northern Alliance. Nazu and her daughters' crime is that they are the wrong ethnicity in a place where revenge is the order of the day.
Over a period of eight hours, she told a Boston Globe reporter in February, one soldier held her crippled husband, Jamaludin, at gunpoint as four others took her three oldest girls into a room and raped them repeatedly - first Fatima, 14, then Bibi Aisha, 12, and then Bibi Amena, 10. Finally, they came for Nazu.
'The soldier pointed a gun at me. He told me I was a Pashtun,' she said as she and her daughters crouched against the dusty wall of their home, faces partially hidden behind scarves, their eyes lowered.
'I was afraid. I could not resist. I am a woman, and they had guns. I could not stop them.'
I have nothing to offer but sympathy. I can feel nothing but disgust, anguish and anger. I feel for Mariane Pearl and her unborn son, just as I feel for Nazu and her daughters in Afghanistan and Maysoun Hayek and her fatherless daughter in the West Bank.
What has all this violence, terror and heartbreak accomplished?
Did the kidnappers of Daniel Pearl advance the cause of Kashmir?
Did the attackers of September 11 advance the cause of justice for Palestine and Iraq?
Will killing pregnant women make Israel more secure?
Is America more secure today after months of bombings and tens of thousands of deaths?
Will the killing of civilians liberate Palestine?
Will the rape of women of different tribes bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan?
Are the hundreds of Muslims and Hindus being killed in India solve the dispute over Babri Masjid?
Mariane Pearl's response to her husband's brutal murder is one which must be taken to heart. Instead of turning anger and vengeance towards the locale of her husband's murder, she has instead expressed gratitude to the Pakistani people and the country's government for their support and sympathy during this horrific ordeal. She wants to raise her son as a bridge builder, not as a soldier in the clash of civilizations.
But Mrs. Pearl's response reflects that of someone who has the ability to be heard. CNN and worldwide media have allowed her the opportunity to voice her concerns and sympathy. But they haven't allowed Nazu or Maysoun to do that on the same level.
Maybe if we start listening to people and giving them due importance, whether it's the wife of a prominent reporter, an Afghan refugee or a suffering Palestinian mother, people will not have to resort to violence, terrorism and bombs. Instead, we can deal with issues fairly so that fewer children will have to open their eyes to a world filled with horror, without their fathers and mothers.
My sympathy is compounded by the fact that like Mariane Pearl and Maysoun Hayek last week, I am also carrying a baby who Alhamdu lillah, is kicking and moving around in the safety of its mother's womb. He or she is due at the end of this month. I pray that its life will be filled with love, guidance and safety as I hope the same for Mrs. Hayek, Mrs. Pearl and Nazu's children. I hope that these children will grow up to create a better world than we are living in today, one where bridge building, not bombing, is the order of the day.
"Daniel Pearl Passport" by Queerbubbles - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daniel_Pearl_Passport.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Daniel_Pearl_Passport.JPG