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Tribute to Jamal Khashoggi: when death is an inspiration

Israel/Palestine
on 13 Comments

Mr. Khashoggi:

My name is Ahmed Alnaouq. I am a writer from Gaza and a member of We Are Not Numbers. I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting or even hearing about you when you were alive. Like thousands of others, I discovered you only after you went missing. Nevertheless, you have left a lasting mark and I hope to carry your legacy forward as a developing journalist.

My earliest memories when I was in Gaza were mostly about war and violence. When I was in primary school, I witnessed too many assassinations to count against leaders among my people. Every time a Palestinian role model was assassinated, the media and organizers of mass rallies proclaimed that the murder would make us stronger and give birth to thousands of new leaders to take his or her place. But at the time, these speeches didn’t inspire me; they just made me feel discouraged and even sort of empty.

This time is different. You were not Palestinian, but I claim you as one of my leaders, your death is my inspiration to follow in your footsteps, speaking truth to power.

It is ironic that you were murdered for your words, yet they went even more viral when you were killed. This was not a win for despots like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). It was a flame that ignited waiting matches like me.

Two days after you went missing, nearly all the media worldwide were covering your case and searching for the truth about what happened that day when you entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Like others, I devoured every scrap of news I could find. But I went even further, searching out your writings and interviews on video. I researched your beliefs and ideas for the future and what I learned gave me hope in the strength of the human spirit. You were a writer who fought for freedom and truth. The more I read, the deeper the shiver down my spine: I want to be like you!

I believe that your murder will become a rallying cry for all human rights defenders and those who previously silenced themselves in the presence of tyrants. Instead of squelching your voice, bin Salman and other oppressors have given new life to your words, which now are slogans for all people longing to be free.

In your writings, you protected no one. You criticized the Saudi regime and its opponents indiscriminately. Even when you had reason to fear the Saudi regime and MBS, you defended the progressive measures taken by the crown prince, while pointing out his increasingly evident flaws. This taught be to be a seeker of truth, no matter where it leads me.

You were accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, but you also called them to task on many occasions, advising them to change radical beliefs like adopting jihad as a path to change.

Likewise, you were one of the few in Saudi Arabia to oppose the war on Yemen and to advocate for peace talks. “I promote democracy, because democracy is the solution for these miserable republics,” you wrote.

I long have searched for my passion and purpose in my life; now, I think I have found it. Unfortunately, a true journalist today must be willing to sacrifice his life. Yet I’ve never been so sure of my direction. Millions of people live, eat, laugh, work and die simply for themselves and their families—and are eventually forgotten. A few live to speak for others and die as the price. But they are eternally remembered.

You taught me that words are indeed mightier than bullets.

Mr. Khashoggi, I know you are not be able to read this, but I hope your soul knows your sacrifice has changed the life of one young writer from Gaza…

May you rest in power.

Please join the call by Amnesty International for an independent U.N. investigation into Jamal’s murder. Sign this petition.

About Ahmed Alnaouq

Ahmed Alnaouq was born and raised in the Gaza Strip and is the former project manager for WeAreNotNumbers.org. He currently is representing the project at the World Youth Forum in Sharm El Shekh, Egypt.

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13 Responses

  1. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    November 2, 2018, 11:32 pm

    The journalist was allied with the Muslim Brotherhood and by extension the tyrant erdogan. This hardly makes him a martyr to the cause of human rights. As much as he didn’t deserve to be executed he was swimming wth other sharks in dangerous waters. That he was anti KSA was his right but I don’t see any mw opinion pieces about the journalists turkey and/or Iran and Assad has imprisoned and killed. Somehow this murder made it big time in the western press. If KSA did not develop geo-strategic alliances with Israel I doubt anybody here, including ((((((north)))))))) would give a damn

    • annie
      annie
      November 3, 2018, 3:47 am

      If KSA did not develop geo-strategic alliances with Israel I doubt anybody here, including ((((((north)))))))) would give a damn

      because nobody cares about genocide in yemen other than how it impacts israel? try harder next time.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        November 3, 2018, 9:47 am

        @annie

        “because nobody cares about genocide in yemen other than how it impacts israel? try harder next time.”

        BINGO!!

        Netanyahu and his fellow murderous, thieving Zionist thugs are joined at the hip with the monster MBS who is responsible for the ongoing slaughter in Yemen.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 3, 2018, 11:05 am

        The thing about Zionists is that because they view everything in the Middle East – and indeed in world affairs in general – from the perspective of how it affects Israel, they assume that everyone else does the same. It seems impossible for them to imagine that anyone would ever hold a viewpoint without it being somehow connected to that minor West Asian statelet.

      • annie
        annie
        November 3, 2018, 1:42 pm

        maximus, i have not been a fan of saudi arabia for a long long time. way before yemen. way before bush arranged for hundreds of saudis to fly back to saudi arabia after 9/11 before the investigations. and before israel was even on my radar. i didn’t like how bush1 launched the first gulf war with saudi arabia against iraq.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        November 4, 2018, 12:52 am

        @an

        Oh. Suddenly you care so much about genocide when the Syrians were being murdered by Assad for over seven years. But then Iran v came to his.’rescue’. Try harder

        All Yemeni Jews that were subject to the whims of the Muslim based govt have left for israel or elsewhere. Another jew free Muslim nation that is embroiled in a civil war that while not directly involving them subjected them to more hardship then was usual for them.

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    November 3, 2018, 7:10 am

    “In your writings, you protected no one. You criticized the Saudi regime and its opponents indiscriminately.”

    I don’t want to sound churlish given the circumstances, but this is a very inaccurate summary of Khashoggi’s long career – which, until about a year ago, was spent as a propagandist for the House of Saud. He only started criticising them – and then only relatively mildly – when his boss, Prince Waleed fell out with the crown prince. Also, while he frequently wrote about Palestine in Arabic, he never did in any of his “Washington Post” articles, presumably because he knew very well that he would only get to be the token Arab at a major American newspaper if he wrote within the accepted limits of discourse.

    None of this is in any way to justify what happened to Khashoggi, but let’s not pretend he was something he never was. There are many very brave Arab dissidents, but Khashoggi, by his own admission, was never a dissident.

    • helen4yemen
      helen4yemen
      November 3, 2018, 10:44 pm

      I am an Arab and I never heard of the man till he died and then I read
      some of his articles. He supported the Yemen war till the time he
      left the country and then actually used the Yemen tragedy to hit
      back at the MBS. He was very sectarian against the Shia Muslims
      everywhere. But the man provided tremendous service after he died to
      the Arabic and Islamic world in as far as he managed to diminish the
      stature of the Saudi barbarians. And how can one not feel sympathy
      for the way his life ended? How is it that you know what he wrote in
      Arabic? Do you read Arabic?

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 4, 2018, 6:44 am

        ” And how can one not feel sympathy
        for the way his life ended?”

        Sorry, but this is silly. Like I said, nothing could possibly justify what happened to him. But it’s simply not true that he was a dissident. He was a loyal servant of the House of Saud until they – or rather the crown prince – no longer wanted him. That’s just a fact.

        “How is it that you know what he wrote in
        Arabic? Do you read Arabic?”

        When I lived in the Kingdom, he was the editor of the English language “Arab News”, which, like all publicaitions in that country, was basically a propaganda sheet. And no, I don’t read Arabic beyond the basic level, but I’ve read several accounts of how his writing in that language was very different from his sanitised articles in the WP.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      November 4, 2018, 1:03 am

      @mdm

      wow. I actually agree with this comment completly. this murder, being one of many in the region was a petty act by a royal family that blew up in the western msm because a) it bought erdogan almost everything he wanted and b) was perhaps an overdue excuse to lay into the tyrannical govt of a top american as ally which usually avoids such press scrutiny. It’s also a’sexy’ ratings driven story which is all the US mainstream media is about.

      @h4m

      I agree with your comment too. In his gruesome death he served a bigger purpose to exposing the absolute power the Saudi royal family but also never heard of the man

  3. Elizabeth Block
    Elizabeth Block
    November 3, 2018, 10:23 am

    I think MBS thought Trump wouldn’t mind – he was right about that – and that no one else would care, or if they did, they wouldn’t matter. He was wrong about that.
    And yes, of course he was in on it. It wouldn’t have happened against his will.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    November 3, 2018, 12:54 pm

    How about a tribute to all the Yemeni children who have died and are still dying from hunger??? Two wrongs don’t make one right, but I think suffering children are a lot more important. What kind of a hypocritical society have we become? For the most part, we remain silent and continue selling war material to those murderers. We are GUILTY by association.

  5. helen4yemen
    helen4yemen
    November 7, 2018, 10:42 pm

    1) It was a flame that ignited waiting matches like me.

    The man spent 58 years of his life as a member of the Saudi elite. Saudi repression did not begin with the ascent of the MBS. It had always been a barbaric and brutal regime. Are we to believe that Khashoggi suddenly began to notice how decadent that British-installed Saudi monarchy was?

    2) But I went even further, searching out your writings and interviews on video.

    And what did you find? Let me tell you what I found: Khashoggi changed his tone after falling out with the the monarchy. I watched in total disgust how this soft-spoken man became feisty defending  the Saudis to bomb Yemenis. The man was a very timid and mild critic of the monarchy but a very vocal defender until he left Saudi.

    3) You were a writer who fought for freedom and truth.

    Nah! When had he ever said anything negative of the Saudis? Only when he had some issues during the last two years. Where was his voice prior to that?

    4) The more I read, the deeper the shiver down my spine: I want to be like you!

    Then you want to be just another timid, self-serving opportunist?

    5) Instead of squelching your voice, bin Salman and other oppressors have given new life to your words,

    And what are his words? You seem to be emotionally overcome with his tragic death and nobody doubts that he died a horrible death and that he deserves sympathy. But that does then mean that you suddenly begin to glorify the man for something he never did.

    6) which now are slogans for all people longing to be free.

    The man did not advocate for the Saudi people to be free of a British-installed monarchy. I believe he wanted people to have more freedom of expression – which certainly is a cause worth applauding. But the man was a very timid advocate for anyone’s human rights.

    7) In your writings, you protected no one. You criticized the Saudi regime and its opponents indiscriminately.

    Nah! During his entire 58 years, he was best friends of the princes and royals. Please tell me what he wrote that can be considered courageous. Nothing!

    8) progressive measures taken by the crown prince,

    You mean letting women drive is considered “progressive”?

    9) Likewise, you were one of the few in Saudi Arabia to oppose the war on Yemen and to advocate for peace talks.

    NO! He supported the Yemen war all the way until he left Saudi and then used the Yemen war to hit back at MBS. He defended the use of  cluster bombs devastating the Yemeni people. How much have you read about him?

    10) A few live to speak for others and die as the price. But they are eternally remembered.

    Who was he speaking for? What did happen was there were disagreements between him and the MBS and Khashoggi fled and tried to reinvent himself as a brand new man, a critic of the Saudi regime. There is no track record that he left behind that he was a critic of the Saudis until he had a falling out with the princes.

    11) You taught me that words are indeed mightier than bullets.

    I could be wrong but you sound young and impressionable. It is not what the man stood for that has caught the world’s attention but the way the Saudi regime planned and carried out his execution. I tell everyone to make sure to keep the story alive, because in his death, Khashoggi left a wonderful legacy behind him, which was he left the Saudi regime in the most embarrassing position from which they will never be able to get out of.

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