As we speculate on the mystery of Jamal Khashoggi, we must understand that the World’s media is guilty of his fate.
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi casts a telling glow on Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman. With each decision he’s made recently - the war on Yemen, demonising Qatar and the sanctions to Canada for criticising the kingdom’s scandalous human rights – has changed the way the Saudi citizens and the world view the so-called “reformist” and are questioning if the vision he crafted for a reformed Saudi by 2030 is feasible or just a farce.
The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi embassy in Turkey on October 2, opened the eyes of the most loyal and steadfast supporters of the crown prince, of the pretence that Saudi Arabia is heading toward reform. Add to this the insecurity and vindictive nature of Prince Salman through his en masse detention of possible critics whom he held captive in hotels in the capital and the arrest and incarceration of clerics, the world is no longer able to just look at the veneer but are being exposed to the rotten core.
However, the disappearance of Khashoggi was unprecedented, especially as Khashoggi was never a relentless critic of the prince, but more a commentator and a fan of the 2030 vision. In fact, he was once a part of the establishment.
His last article promoted the idea of a free press in Saudi Arabia, which could have been seen as a threat to MBS who fears and loathes above all else – debate. Khashoggi’s articles, published in Arabic in the Washington Post threatened to stir debate, even within the ranks of the House of Saud, which might have brought about the ousting of MBS especially with the recent failed IPO and low foreign investment.
With the threat of exposure and humiliation hanging of over his head, one can assume that the team of 15 Saudi officials who arrived at the Saudi consulate in Turkey were there to eliminate the target. However, there is only circumstantial evidence to support this story filled with mystery, murder and conundrums.
So, Western media supports the idea of Khashoggi being dead. But if this were to be true should we not be asking the question: Who is responsible and what should governments and the media be doing about the repressive governments of the world.
Trump, obviously, will not oppose the crown prince, even though he has publicly berated him, but the recent criticism from Khashoggi against the support of Trump’s decisions and plans in Palestine and his attempts to warn the Saudis not to fall for Trump's grandiose plans could have been the reason for his demise.
The Western world may have given Khashoggi a temporary shelter, but it was the Western media that gave him the gun to play Russian roulette with. Khashoggi become a pawn of the Western media – Martin Jay asks “But western media using an Arab commentator to procure reform in the darkest part of the world?” Is this what got Jamal Khashoggi killed?
As the Washington Post continues to publish Khashoggi’s articles it snuffs out any hope of a deal being struck to release him in the event that he is alive and being held captive by the Saudis.
Is his death (if he has been murdered) in vain? Well, it can only be hoped that the consciousness of the world is pricked and triggers condemnation from Joe Soap and more importantly the investors with an eye on investments in the kingdom hold back as has Richard Branson and Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.
The Saudis, will hopefully fit the jigsaw pieces together and see the link between the appalling human rights atrocities and the lack of foreign investors. It’s hardly plausible that the media will be able to show the Saudi prince the error of his ways but perhaps the markets and banks will. But the disappearance of Khashoggi has also highlighted the war against truth.
As the world order is degraded in favour of authoritarian rule, we begin to see the pollution, degradation and control of information. Just take a look at the killing, imprisonment, torture of journalists and activists, the trolling and use of PR firms to mask or put a spin on negative stories or events.
Starkly put, we are experiencing the deliberate attempts used to justify dishonesty to genocide.
With the war against truth spreading from Russia to Egypt to Venezuela, one can no longer find shelter for those who challenge power. We watch as authoritarian forces rise globally and we ask if the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi was due to his striving to tell the truth - the most dangerous weapon to wield in the face of those dealing in dishonesty.
If he has been martyred for the truth then know that there will be many more to follow.