Released last night was Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s final column ever for the Washington Post, “What the Arab world needs most is free expression” Read it here.
It reads like a eulogy for Freedom of Expression. He is lamenting that single moment of hope that came with the Arab Spring. And now, to consolidate power and silence dissent, Arab leaders are in control of their own media; blocking out the internet, blocking out radio, only letting one narrative (the state’s) be heard. The power of a free media lies in its ability to address problems the government is not addressing. Be it poverty, infrastructure, or institutional racism.
One passage left me particularly cold, though
As a result, Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.
This man was murdered with impunity at his country’s embassy. I don’t care about any narratives being spun out right now about ‘what happened?’ this is all spin. What’s important is that our government has failed to act in any meaningful way on what has happened to a man who was permanent resident of the US.
He was under our protection. He was a journalist.
Meanwhile, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is up to his ears in this. And so is Jared Kushner. As well as Trump. And by association, the entire Trump Administration. It is an administration even more hostile to the press than any one in recent memory.
Look at that passage again. Is it really so difficult to see that happening to us? The administration refuses to hold the Saudis accountable for Jamal Kashoggi’s disappearance, they revoke press credentials, and we have at least one channel that is definitively State Run media. Sadly, the one shining difference, a free and open internet, has proven all too capable of misinforming the citizens with misinformation or distracting them long enough to stay uninformed.
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