When Wall Street Journal’s South Asia Bureau Chief Daniel Pearl was abducted and murdered in Karachi, Pakistan, the world that he left behind with his wife Mariane Pearl and their unborn son, was shattered. It was Mariane’s immense strength that helped her cope with grief and raise her voice against the injustice committed towards her husband. All these and more are reflected in her memoir about Daniel and his untimely demise at the hands of the Al-Qaeda in the book titled ‘A Mighty Heart’. The story was also adapted to a movie with the same title where Angelina Jolie played the lead role.
Mariane Pearl is a journalist herself so the words chosen to describe everything about her and Daniel’s life are immaculate and precise. There is not a single space in the story where the readers would feel as if something is missing or if something else could be added. The story of her loss and the strength she achieved from it touches one’s heart. She wrote about her days and nights which were initially filled with anger but slowly with wistful thoughts about Daniel would return anyhow.
The couple met under unfavorable circumstanced where each was busy covering assignments across the globe. They could not meet regularly but kept in touch through e-mails and when they finally got married, they tried to accompany each other in their ventures. Work took them to places but wherever they went, they made it their home. Daniel and Mariane lead a life like Bedouins, constantly on their toes and travelling around. When Mariane became pregnant, the couple realized that they needed slow down and maybe start settling down. The fateful day in 2002 when Daniel disappeared was supposed to be their last in Pakistan as they planned to go for a vacation in Dubai the very next day.
Being journalists, they met new people on a daily basis and kept in touch with sources or confidants who helped them reach the core of their investigative reports. Daniel had many such local sources or leads in Pakistan and using them as a trap, he was kidnapped and later murdered. Marine leaves no stones unturned in finding out who were the exact people behind killing her husband and it is unbelievable how being widowed and left with a son to raise all herself only make her stronger as a human being. She paid little attention to herself but sought everyone that she could to find out what had happened to Danile, whether he could be saved or not. A close friend of hers, another journalist named Asra Q Nomani, helped her in her investigation but she was felt helpless when Daniel was gone.
The book was not all about Marine’s heartache, it also touched on the global political mishaps at that time and that despite sincere efforts by a team of Pakistan’s best Intelligence Officials, Daniel Pearl could not be saved. In her account, Mariane Pearl doesn’t blame or regret, she simply points out the wrong doings and the fact that she lost the love of her life to bigotry and hatred. After she returned home to Paris, she formed The Daniel Pearl Foundation in memory of her husband.