The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The most-read Global Opinions columns of 2018

A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 25. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Global Opinions can seem like such a broad category. But our section has a simple mission: elevate the voices of people fighting for human rights and good governance, and enrich the conversation about the most pressing geopolitical issues.

This year was difficult, but the challenges strengthened our resolve. We suffered a very hard blow with the brutal murder of our friend and colleague Jamal Khashoggi. We were stunned. The world was stunned.

But his death revived the conversation about the persecution of journalists and dissidents, and how countries push their agendas and behave, sometimes working hard to obfuscate the search for answers, accountability and justice.

It’s because the world can be very complex that we try every day to expand our, and hopefully your, understanding.

This year also gave us a World Cup. We saw Justin Trudeau stumble in India — where the #MeToo movement shook politics and the entertainment industry. The movie “Black Panther” was a global phenomenon, and we looked into its reception in Africa.

Next year we will increase our global commentary with more writers, more perspectives, even more languages. You can send your column ideas to,, and

Thank you for reading and supporting us.

Without further delay, here are the 10 most popular op-eds from our Global Opinions section from outside contributors:

1: What the Arab world needs most is free expression” by Jamal Khashoggi

“The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.”

2: “In Winston Churchill, Hollywood rewards a mass murderer” by Shashi Tharoor

“’History,' Winston Churchill said, ‘will be kind to me, for I intend to write it myself.’ He needn’t have bothered. He was one of the great mass murderers of the 20th century, yet is the only one, unlike Hitler and Stalin, to have escaped historical odium in the West. He has been crowned with a Nobel Prize (for literature, no less), and now, an actor portraying him (Gary Oldman) has been awarded an Oscar.“

3: "Trudeau’s India trip is a total disaster — and he has himself to blame" by Barkha Dutt

"How did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the world’s favorite liberal mascot — a feminist man, with movie-star good looks, a 50 percent female cabinet and a political lexicon that has replaced ‘mankind’ with ‘peoplekind’ (making millions swoon) — end up looking silly, diminished and desperate on his trip to India this week?"

4: "As a young journalist in India, I was raped by M.J. Akbar. Here is my story." by Pallavi Gogoi

“I am writing this because I know what it is like to be victimized by powerful men like Akbar. I am writing this to support the many women who have come out to tell their truth. I am writing this for my teenage daughter and son. So they know to fight back when anyone victimizes them. So they know never to victimize anyone. So they know that 23 years after what happened to me, I have risen from those dark times, refusing to let them define me, and I will continue to move forward.”

5:"#NewsKiMaut: The Way Indian media has covered Sridevi’s death has been shameful” by Barkha Dutt

“Sridevi was an icon who deserved much better than this salacious scavenging.

“For me, the final embarrassment was watching a news host on India’s most watched Hindi channel stand next to a white bathtub across which was emblazoned the words 'Maut Ka Bathtub, or ‘The Bathtub of Death.’ In the hashtag-driven banality that has come to define prime-time news, I thought it deserved a counter-hashtag. ‘#NewsKiMaut,’ I retorted — ‘The Death of News.’ Not just Sridevi but television news needs an obituary, I said.”

6: “'Black Panther': Why the relationship between Africans and African Americans is so messed up" by Larry Madowo and Karen Attiah

Larry: “The accents are all over the place! It was jarring and annoying to me! They wanted to base the accents on Xhosa from South Africa, but some of it sounded Nigerian, others sounded more Ugandan. It was very confusing, and I understand perfecting an accent is difficult, but oh, my goodness, it was so messy!”

7: “Please, President Trump, shed light on my fiance’s disappearance” by Hatice Cengiz

“Although my hope slowly fades away each passing day, I remain confident that Jamal is still alive. Perhaps I’m simply trying to hide from the thought that I have lost a great man whose love I had earned. As an individual who believes that life and death are in the hands of God, I pray to God alone for Jamal’s safe return.”

8:“We are Jamal Khashoggi’s daughters. We promise his light will never fade” by Noha and Razan Jamal Khashoggi

“Jamal Khashoggi was a complex man, but to us, his daughters, he was simply ‘Dad.’ Our family has always been proud of his work, and we understood the awe and grandeur with which some people viewed him. But in our lives, he was ‘Baba’ — a loving man with a big heart. We loved it when he took us every weekend to the bookstore. We loved looking through his passport, deciphering new locations from pages covered with exit and entry stamps. And we loved digging through the years of musty magazines and newspaper clippings that surrounded his desk.”

9: "Why India is being really rude to Justin Trudeau” by Shivam Vij

“It gets worse. The beautiful, photogenic Trudeaus went to see the Taj Mahal in Agra, where they were welcomed not by the provincial chief minister, not even a junior minister, but by district officials. Still, the Trudeaus managed to make memorable visuals at India’s famous mausoleum of love.”

10: ”Why Trudeau doesn’t have the high ground on trade" by J.J. McCullough

“Yet this is the trade-war hill that Trudeau has chosen to die on. He has alienated the entire western half of his country through bungled oil and pipeline policies, and now his path to a second term in next year’s election seems increasingly tied to maintaining the goodwill of Quebec.”

Read more:

The best Tom Toles editorial cartoons of 2018

The best Ann Telnaes editorial cartoons of 2018

2018 in editorial cartoons from all over the country

The not-best of Alexandra Petri, 2018 edition

Opinions staff picks: Our favorite Washington Post op-eds of 2018