A MIGHTY HEART,
The Brave Life And Death Of My Husband Danny Pearl
by Mariane Pearl with Sarah Crichton
Publisher: Scribner, New York, 2003
Reviewed by Joyce Muraoka
When Mariane Pearl asked her husband, Danny Pearl, how he would define his personal religion, in other words what values he held above all else: “Ethics,” he declared with a triumphant air. “Ethics and truth.” p. 113
This book is a legacy to Danny Pearl’s life of courage, conviction, and commitment. Danny, a well-respected journalist for the Wall Street Journal was kidnapped and eventually killed by terrorists in Pakistan. He and his wife, Mariane – a French journalist – lived and worked in high risk areas in order to bring out the truth within the ethnic and religious conflicts taking place in these regions of the world. Not only did they have to be aware of the dangers of daily living, Danny also worked constantly to be aware of his own perspective and biases so as to keep them from distorting his reporting. Though competitive, he held a standard above the commercialism and sensationalism that seeks to sell news. He wanted his reporting to make a difference; to cause people to understand, think, and bring changes to the problems the world must face together.
Theirs was a partnership of life. Mariane and Danny lived and worked intensely with love, respect, passion and protection of one another. The desperate search for Danny revealed the mettle of Mariane. Pregnant with their son, Mariane had the excruciating ordeal of facing her greatest loss before being able to give birth to the greatest life within her. This story, which could easily have been retold with hate, blame, and revenge turns out to be a story of love, responsibility, courage, and hope. The heart beat of the Spiritual Warrior ~ determined to better the world for all ~ could be heard beating, starting with Danny, throughout the intimate circle drawn together to rescue him. After it became known that Danny had been executed, Mariane gathered this team to honor and thank them:
“You are the bravest men I have ever met. You went straight to hell, where darkness is the deepest, because you hate injustice, and racism, and tyranny. You did it for Danny and for me and for our child. But you also did it on behalf of the rest of the world. You are on the front lines of the fight against terrorism, and still, nobody knows you and how brave you are. Nobody sees how your willingness to fight the darkest threat for humanity actually makes each one of you shine as an individual.” p. 202
In the Prologue, Mariane outlines her reasons for writing this book. In part:
“I write this book to show that you [Danny] were right: The task of changing a hate-filled world belongs to each one of us.”
“I write this book for you,Adam, so you know that your father was not a hero but an ordinary man. An ordinary hero with a mighty heart. I write this book for you so you can be free.” p. 1
Adam ~ first born son, ‘universal baby,’ child of mixed bloodlines ~ hope for the future.
This, Danny had in mind when he named his son.
“And it reminds me of a wish his father and I made early on: that in our son’s lifetime there would be more people ready to give their lives for peace than for the hatred in their hearts.” p. 221
This book asks each of us our purpose and role in becoming an ordinary hero with a mighty heart that sets the world free.