US envoy causes Twitter storm over Pearl's legacy

Samantha Power's Tweets were criticized for a confusing analysis of the significance of Pearl's death.

February 25, 2014 07:49
1 minute read.
Samantha Power testifies on Capitol Hill, July 17, 2013

Samantha Power. (photo credit: Reuters)

WASHINGTON -- US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power gave a lengthy speech Sunday night on America's fight against hatred and intolerance, in battles both pitched and guerrilla-style, motivated in no small part by the brave actions taken by Daniel Pearl, an American journalist killed in 2002 in Pakistan for being Jewish.

Yet her speech in Los Angeles was eclipsed overnight by her effort to wrap those sentiments into 140 characters.

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"Daniel Pearl's story is reminder that individual accountability and reconciliation are required to break cycles of violence," Power's Twitter account read. This morning, the account tweeted a correction, attributing that legacy not to Pearl himself, but to the work of the organization founded in his honor.

Yet the correction only exacerbated criticism of the original tweet, which was characterized on social media as a confusing analysis of the significance of Pearl's death.

Who, exactly, should be held individually accountable, and who should be reconciled with, were questions neither answered on the account nor raised in her speech.

"As I said last night, the men who murdered Daniel Pearl did so because 'he was an American, and most of all, because he was a Jew,'" Power said, continuing the Twitter conversation.

Clues as to what Power meant may reside in the mission statement of the Daniel Pearl Foundation: "uncompromised objectivity and integrity; insightful and unconventional perspective; tolerance and respect for people of all cultures; unshaken belief in the effectiveness of education and communication; and the love of music, humor, and friendship."

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