This post is from Allynn Lodge.

Today, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yesterday, Americans for Informed Democracy was invited as guests of the Daniel Pearl Foundation to attend a panel discussion at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in commemoration of this day. The panel featured Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, Ambassador Dan Gillerman, and Dr. Judea Pearl, Professor at the University of California Los Angeles and father of slain reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Pearl.

Although 60 years have passed since the Holocaust, names like Cambodia, Srebrenica, Rwanda, and Darfur remind us that genocide is still a dangerous part of our reality. A cruel species of hatred has persisted for a long time. Indeed, Dr. Pearl opened his speech by drawing a parallel between two hate-based murders that have marked his life. In 1942, he lost his grandparents in Auschwitz. 60 years later, at the hands of different people, with a different language, and a different purpose, Dr. Pearl lost his son. In a dungeon in Karachi, Pakistan, Danny Pearl looked into the face of evil and proclaimed his identity: I am Jewish.

Danny’s last words meant many things, Dr. Pearl suggested. “I am Jewish,” meant, “I come from a place where heritage is strength;” “I understand suffering;” “I respect Islam” “I am reminding you of the challenge of understanding others and of the shining dignity of being different.” His words, Danny’s words, resonated in the large auditorium, figuratively and literally.

After Danny’s death, Dr. Pearl founded the Daniel Pearl Foundation to promote cross-cultural understanding in celebration of Danny’s three passions: journalism, music, and dialogue. Dr. Pearl suggested that we can win the struggle between inclusively and exclusivity, between civilization and barbarity through education, vigilance, timely response, and dialogue.

Who cares? Who listens? Dr. Pearl asked somewhat rhetorically. Our ideas and words, he suggested, reach the ears of young generations who receive the message that threats of genocide are wrong; that hatred is not the norm.

Today, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. But let tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, and so on be days of remembrance as well. May we keep our minds and mouths open. Keep the dialogue thriving. Let us respectfully remind each other, as Danny did, of the “challenge of understanding others and the shining dignity of being different.”

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