Wednesday, February 10, 2010
A Mighty Heart
I have been obsessively reading the book, A Mighty Heart, a memoir by Mariane Pearl co-written with Sarah Crichton. Journalist Mariane is the wife of the late Daniel Pearl, former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent.
Daniel was reporting in India before the 9/11 attacks. He then went to Karachi, Pakistan on assignment to find links between the shoe-bomber, Richard Reid, and terrorists.
With the help of a fixer and misunderstood sources, he got kidnapped.
Mariane began the 4-week search.
The book subtitled, “The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Danny Pearl” made me lurk to find out the grim details.
My eyes were glued to the pages.
After getting through three-fourths of it…the part where Danny is killed, I took a deep prolonged breath.
He was killed in February 2002.
Is it really true?
“Oh-my-gosh. How could this happen,” I thought.
Instinctively I do what I’ve been holding off for so long, I Google searched: “A Mighty Heart”, “Mariane Pearl”, and “Daniel Pearl Wall Street Journal”.
It was confirmed. He was a real person. This really happened.
I think I have seen Daniel’s pictures before. They were sent by the terrorists to media, and later spread on the Internet.
They seem familiar.
Daniel’s story unfolds as Mariane describes his pure heart, one that crossed all boundaries of religions, cultures, and backgrounds to unite all with the truth. This truth drove him to many places, and to a gruesome end.
Mariane was pregnant during the incident. She later gave birth to a boy, who she named Adam.
This name represents the beginnings of time, before there were Muslims, Jews, Christians and terrorists. This name links us all. It represents the best of humankind.
Daniel was Jew, Mariane was Buddhist. They were hurt by Muslim extremists. But they were also helped by Pakistani Muslims and American Christians (government officials).
With that spirit, Mariane wrote this book filled with hope, determination and the chase for the truth.
“Ashaduanna illaha illalah” - There is no God but God.
I can’t believe the terrorists pray the same prayers I do. I can’t believe they don’t feel guilty for the hatred they spread. Much more I can’t believe they really exist.
Between the finger-pointing, over-exaggerating and misunderstanding of Islam and Muslims, it’s hard to be on the Muslim side and believe there are these big scary guys, who Mariane refers to “guys with long beards,” in their mid-20s’, killing off the “rest of the world.”
It's almost like ignoring their existence to defend ourselves.
What they are doing is, installing fear of Muslims, vainly in the name of God.
Then media blows things out of proportion. Mariane says in the book, American journalists were not aware of the reality, and feeding off of her misery by showing videos of her husband's killing on air.
Back to reality
There are terrorists. Perhaps there are a smaller number than we think exist, and yet there are many. Some live among them, some hide and protect them, and some are wrongfully labeled as associates of them - including many non-profit charity organizations.
Unlike the terrorists who were uninviting of Daniel, his family and friends have opened the Daniel Pearl Foundation, a nonprofit group for journalists who need scholarships and their feet in mainstream media - including Pakistani journalists - and to continue his mission of equality.
"The Daniel Pearl Foundation has been formed by Danny's family and friends to continue Danny's mission and to address the root causes of this tragedy, in the spirit, style, and principles that shaped Danny's work and character. These principles include 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." (danielpearl.com)
Bringing it home
There are good people, among the bad.
Mariane recognizes and acknowledges not Muslim people are bad. Pakistani officials and “the rest of the world” helped her figure out the clues that led her to Daniel’s death.
She says Islam is misrepresented through the terrorists. After living among Muslims for long, she acknowledges not all are those terrorists.
Mariane says the main thing they want us for us to fear them. And that is what she will not do, nor should we.
The truth shall overcome.