By: Erica Werner, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Slain journalist Daniel Pearl could charm a taxi driver, cook an omelet, play the violin, and love life even as he risked it, friends and family said.
Some 500 people attended a memorial service Sunday for Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal who was killed by kidnappers in Pakistan.
Pearl’s friends talked about his uncanny ability to talk his way out of predicaments — even once persuading a cab driver to lend him his belt for a job interview. They said that when he was kidnapped in Pakistan, they hoped he would talk his way out of that as well.
“He knew for sure that no matter how complex the situation, some good fairy would take care of him, and she did for 38 years,” said Pearl’s father, Judea Pearl.
The service included music, video, slides, and more than a dozen speakers. There were more laughs than tears as people recounted anecdotes from Pearl’s youth in the San Fernando Valley, his college years at Stanford University, and his professional career. They also recalled his musical talent on the fiddle and other instruments.
Members of one of the bands Pearl played in, The Clamp in Washington, D.C., performed a song called “The World is Not a Bad Place.”
Pearl was “the great big kid, the goofball, the king of clutter,” said Daniel Gill, 38, of San Francisco, who met Pearl when both were fourth-graders.
Pearl’s wife, Mariane, who expects to give birth to their only child in May, said she remains connected to her husband. “Even death cannot separate us. I make the commitment to enable him to live throughout me, throughout our son,” she said.
Pearl was kidnapped while researching links between Pakistani extremists and shoe-bombing suspect Richard C. Reid. A videotape received Feb. 22 by U.S. diplomats in Karachi showed Pearl dead. His body has not been found.
The chief suspect in his kidnapping and slaying, British-born Islamic militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, goes on trial Tuesday before Pakistan’s anti-terrorism court.
Information about Sunday’s invitation-only service came through a single pool reporter who was allowed to attend.
Others at the service included Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger, John K. Bauman, the consul general for Karachi, Pakistan, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who had pleaded for Pearl to be freed after his Jan. 23 kidnapping.
On the Net: http://www.danielpearlfoundation.org