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A poem for my son, Daniel Pearl, on the 20th anniversary of his death

The following is a poem by Professor Judea Pearl, originally published on the 10th anniversary of his son Daniel Pearl’s death. On February 1, 2002, the 38-year-old journalist was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan. The poem is reprinted here with permission.

Come walk the road to lions’ den
South of midnight, planet earth, Karachi, Pakistan.
They called it “nursery,” some named it “shed,”
A “compound,” “shack,” the newspaper said.
I found it in my father’s holy book,
“The lions’ den” – the caption read:

Come touch the walls on which two eyes
with thousand dreams wrote songs
and fiercest battles, ancient wars,
for seven days, went on.

Never in the field of human conflict
Has there been a clash so total
so intense in charge and aim
Between two cosmic forces
so compressed in space

So opposed in vision
so rooted in conviction
Across so close a distance
Before so many eyes.

Never stood a son of Abel
so fiercely to the face of Cain
A giver – to the teeth of claim,
A curious – to the blinds of self.
A listener – to the deafening shrieks of zeal.


Never pierced a ray of light
so deeply to the core of darkness
Music, to estrangement,
Principles to whims
Reason, to the impulse

Mankind, to Attila, the Hun

Never was this saga chanted
in so powerful a rhyme:
“My name is Daniel Pearl,”
Softly spoken from the den,
Softly, from Karachi, Pakistan

And when Daniel was lifted from the den,
So the Bible tells us,
No wound was found on him,
Because he stood his ground
‘Cause he stood our ground
So the Bible tells us.

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