Oprah Talks to Mariane Pearl
Oprah: That is so powerful, because it means that in the moment of your greatest crisis, you still have the opportunity to choose who you're going to be.
Mariane: Right. And that moment is so extreme. They're trying to take the most important thing from you, and that's the real war. They're taking somebody as a symbol. They don't care about Danny, but they want to kill me and they want to kill his countrymen and they want to kill The Wall Street Journal and they want to kill Americans, Jews, and blah, blah, blah.
Oprah: If they can scare you and make you bend—
Mariane: Then they've won. And to this day it's the same struggle. Even to write this book was really painful. But if I fall now after this ordeal and my son becomes an unhappy man because of that, then they've won. And I can't let them win. That doesn't mean I'm not suffering: They took away my husband. But if they can't destroy me, then they have ultimately lost—even though they took Danny's life. I have to deny them their goal, which is to terrify, to crush, to paralyze. People sometimes ask me, "Do you think Danny was killed because he was Jewish or because he was American?" And I say, "In a way, it's not relevant. That's not the point. The point is that they want a clash of civilizations. They want war. And if you deny them war, then you've won."
Oprah: So it's up to each person to deny them war.
Mariane: Right. And that's a tough one. It would be so easy for me to hate Arabs or Pakistanis, or to hate the world, or to hate life.
Oprah: So you harbor no hatred.
Mariane: I have anger, but no hatred, especially not for the Pakistanis. Why would I hate Pakistanis? I don't forgive those who killed Danny. I think they're completely responsible for what they did. And they should die. I think these people are evil, beyond what we can even imagine. There's no reason to forgive them. What they want is for me to fear them and to hate them so that the war can happen, and I won't let it. This is why I don't believe in wars. It's like a cycle. The struggle for peace is much more of a battle than war is.
Oprah: Once Danny was killed, how did the news finally come to you?
Mariane: For about two weeks after his disappearance, it was very intense—we didn't sleep, and we were looking for Danny all the time. By the time the second, more threatening e-mail came, there had been arrests, and we saw a little bit more of what was happening. We had a big chart on the wall, and it showed the terrorist cells and how Al Qaeda works. Cell one doesn't know what cell two is doing, and cell two doesn't know what the third is doing. That's how they try to protect themselves. And the hub is really deep. We knew we were in very deep trouble. But we still didn't know what they wanted. The second e-mail just said that in 24 hours, Danny would be killed. Of course, I didn't believe them.