Must not forget true message in his work: Jamal Khashoggi's editor

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Dec 12, 2018, 09:53 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(Reuters)

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That 'true message', Karen Attiah has said, is that all lives — Arab, Yemeni, black and brown — matter. 

Karen Attiah, Jamal Khashoggi's editor at the Washington Post, has said that "we must not forget" the "true message in his work". 

That true message she has said is that all lives — Arab, Yemeni, black and brown — matter. 

In her opinion piece in the Post, Attiah (she is the Post's Global Opinions editor) says Khashoggi's last words — "I can't breathe"; he was being strangulated at the time — were the same as Eric Garner's. 

Garner was an African American man who died four years ago after being put in a chokehold by New York Police. 

Attiah goes on to say that the two men could not have been any more different. 

Garner worked for New York's Parks and Recreation Department, Khashoggi was a Saudi royal insider. And even in exile, he roamed in elite circles. 

The circumstances of their deaths though, says Attiah, were similar. 

Garner had been selling loose cigarettes on a street corner. Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up marriage paperwork. 

And despite the evidence against their killers, nothing very much was done. 

And, says Attiah, their last words — "I can't breathe" — seemed to be saying the same thing. That the repressed were, quite literally, being strangulated. 

"We must not forget Khashoggi’s true message in his work: Arab lives matter," Attiah writes. Adding, "By demanding that 'Saudis deserve better' than Mohammed bin Salman’s repression, Khashoggi was saying that Saudi lives matter. By writing against the jailing of female reformers, he was saying that women’s lives matter. By pleading for the end to the devastating war in Yemen, he was telling us that Yemeni lives matter.

"Is the world listening?

"That Time magazine honored him as one of the 'Guardians of Truth' for its Person of the Year issue is an amazing testament to Jamal Khashoggi’s work and mission. But for every Jamal Khashoggi, there are hundreds more people in the Arab world whose lives have been destroyed, whose names we will likely never know. Will we continue to accept murder, torture and disappearances of innocent people as the cost of doing business with governments such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates? Will we tolerate our own leaders helping repressive and corrupt governments to cover up the murders of journalists and the jailings of female activists? Should human lives really be weighed against the cost of arms sales or oil barrels?

"Jamal Khashoggi met the cruelest of fates on Oct. 2. But his mission — to break the stranglehold of repression in Arab societies — will live on. Black, brown and Arab lives all matter."