‘The Terror Trail’

‘The Terror Trail’ by Tariq Ali for The London Review of Books, May 20, 2004

Most of those killed during the first two years of the ‘war on terror’ have already been forgotten. An exception is Daniel Pearl, the South Asia bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, who, early in 2002, was lured to a fashionable restaurant in Karachi, kidnapped and then executed by his captors. A video showing Pearl’s throat being slit was distributed to the Western media and a gruesome clip was shown on CBS news.

Invited to the White House to receive condolences from the president-at-war, his secretary of state and his national security adviser, Mariane Pearl told them in some detail how the United States was seen abroad and then, ‘just for the hell of it’, added that ‘my mother was born in Havana and my mother-in-law in Baghdad.’ Her father was a gay Dutch Jewish mathematician who had a one-night stand with a woman in Havana. Her mother soon settled in Paris; her father committed suicide when Mariane was nine. Her mother-in-law belonged to an old Baghdad Jewish family which had decamped to Israel, where she married a man named Judea—unhelpful antecedents for a journalist investigating the terror trail in Pakistan. read more