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Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl (DVD)
Events leading up to the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl are thoroughly detailed in The Journalist and the Jihadi. Originally broadcast on October 10, 2006, this superb HBO documentary avoids any kind of sensational exploitation (thankfully, we don't see any footage of Pearl's beheading) and focuses instead on a humane portrait of Pearl as a truth-seeking citizen of the world--a representative of the best that America has to offer, while his kidnapper, Ahmed Omar Sheikh, represents the darkest, most vengeful elements of radical Islam. As narrated by acclaimed CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, the 79-minute film charts a parallel course between Pearl and Sheikh as middle-class citizens whose lives intersected in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. An American of devout Jewish heritage, Pearl was a smart, engaging son of an Israeli computer scientist, playing sports and violin as he was raised in Encino, California, and discovering his passion for journalism while studying at Stanford. Sheikh, raised in England as the son of a successful Pakistani immigrant, was an avid chess player who frequently competed in arm-wrestling tournaments, and gradually turned, in the 1990s, toward hatred of the West, enrolling in terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Like a suspenseful political thriller, The Journalist and the Jihadi follows the course of history from this intimate, two-man perspective, leading to Pearl's fateful capture as he was investigating a money trail that would ultimately have led him through the ranks of Al Qaeda to Osama bin Laden.
Pearl's wife, Mariane, is featured in extensive interview clips along with other colleagues and friends; their story would later be dramatized in the 2007 film A Mighty Heart (starring Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl), but The Journalist and the Jihadi has the advantage of immediacy and absolute authenticity. Through a steady accumulation of details (how Pearl was trapped through deceptive e-mails; the intensifying manhunt by the FBI; how his murder was confirmed via videotape, etc.), the film offers a balanced assessment of Pearl's murder as a crime against humanity, careful to acknowledge that many decent Muslims responded to the killing with appropriate shock and horror. And while Pearl's death may have been inevitable in radical Islam's cauldron of hatred, we also see how it might have been avoided, if Pearl hadn't been so trusting in his pursuit of journalistic excellence. He was knowledgeable and cautious, but his essential goodness was used against him, and this excellent documentary stands as noble tribute to a man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his faith in humankind. --Jeff Shannon
The documentary 'The Journalist and the Jihadist - The Murder of Daniel Pearl' is a well produced, thoroughly documented account of the gruesome and tragic death of the... Read morePublished on November 7, 2009 by Brian E. Erland
This documentary is incredible! People must know the story of this amazing man and his family!Published on October 1, 2008 by RockinDivaRG