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.That he had been “overly intrusive,” too “prying,” sticking his nose into delicate matters that don’t concern foreigners.That he was wrong to trust Omar Sheikh, who had hoodwinked him by promising to lead him to Reid’s guru, Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, leader of Jamaat al-Fuqrah, the terrorist sect on the FBI’s list of terrorist organizations, and who on said day, instead of leading him to Gilani, took him to a house in the suburbs of Karachi where, after eight days, on 31 January, he was executed.That Omar Sheikh was arrested.That he is at this very moment on trial.That it is through his trial that the regime decided to focus on Islamism in Pakistan—we are following the case, Mr.Lévy! Let justice run its course! Don’t be too nosy yourself.For now, there are the places.The atmospheres.The air Pearl breathed, every day, after his arrival on a winter morning at the Karachi airport.There’s the Marriott, where I also have taken a room.The Hotel Akbar, in Rawalpindi, where he met for the first time his future executioner, Omar Sheikh, and where I must go myself.The Village Garden, in the lower city, their rendezvous the evening of his abduction.There is the place of his ordeal.The place where his body was found, cut in ten pieces, then put back together for burial: the torso, the head placed at the base of the neck, the arms severed at the shoulders, the thighs, the legs, the feet.All the places he had been, tragic or ordinary, where I want to try to find, to sense, his presence.And for all of that—all the mystery surrounding Pearl, to retrace his steps, to imagine what he felt, lived, and suffered—I don’t need a visa or meetings in high places, or, especially, too much visibility.The role of an ordinary tourist suits me fine.At least it allows me to ward off the real risk of being taken for a “journalist”: a category not only defamatory, but unintelligible in a country which I know (and which I will soon have the occasion to verify) is drugged on fanaticism, doped on violence, and has lost even the very idea of what a free press could be.Daniel Pearl.The group of English journalists stoned in December in the Pashtun hills of Chaman.The BBC team attacked around the same time somewhere on the Afghan border.The journalist from The Independent, Robert Fisk, beaten and injured by a crowd of fanaticized Afghan refugees.Shaheen Sehbai, the courageous editor of the Karachi News threatened with death by the secret service for going too far on, precisely, the Pearl affair.In fact, he was forced to flee to the United States.So, low profile.I’m content with a low profile.“Sorry, it’s the police,” the driver says suddenly as he pulls over to the side.I had asked him to leave the main road, using the traffic as a pretext, but in fact what I wanted was to find a guest-house down a side street where I had stayed thirty years ago, just before leaving for India and Bangladesh.I was absorbed in my recollections—the bizarre feeling of having already seen these streets, these low houses, but as if in another life, as if in a dream—engrossed, also, in grim reflections on the freedom of the press in Pakistan and on the disappearance of this city’s languid past, a city I once liked but which now seemed horribly metamorphosed.So I hadn’t noticed the policeman stepping out of the half-light—long hair, wrinkled peacoat, bloodshot eyes lined with kohl, young but not juvenile, hard features, a machine-gun held nervously at arm’s length and, in the other hand, an absurd flashlight, whose beam isn’t larger than a pencil, which he aims at us.“You’ll have to get out.He’s going to ask you something.I was going too fast.”The cop—a real cop?—pulls me out of my seat a little roughly, looks me up and down, surveys with some distaste my old leather jacket and three-day beard, and then takes from my pocket the handful of rupees I had changed at the airport, and my passport.The passport visibly surprises him.“Lévy?” he says incredulous.“Are you Lévy? Is your name really Lévy?”Instantly I tell myself: “Catastrophe! Immediate invalidation of the theory according to which the Pakistanis never having seen a Jew in their life, my name, etc.” And then, the memories of Bangladesh come back to me and I remember that “Lévy” is the name of a prestigious paramilitary battalion, created by the English to police the borders [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]