As we took steps to start our new life, Jamal was filled with excitement and pushed aside the growing hatred against him. It was as though he was unaware. We wanted a normal life. I met him at a time in his life when he was lonely and desperate. He had been forced to leave Saudi Arabia, his country, amid a wave of repression and reforms that barred people from saying or writing anything against the government.
Friday marks exactly 500 days since his murder, and it is our second Valentine’s Day apart from one another. I still feel the same love and respect I felt for him when he was alive, but to be without him feels like the most unfair punishment. I’ve accepted my role because I must keep asking for justice — for me, for his family, for his colleagues.
On Oct. 2, 2018, confused and devastated, I waited for the world to react. But this year I’m pushing beyond my own sadness, still trying to understand the dark and deplorable age we are living in right now. Because that day, inside and near the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, we were both assassinated. The killers who took Jamal’s life also interrupted and usurped mine.
The world didn’t remain silent, but the condemnation was not enough to punish the true murderers. And those who stayed silent and decided to look away are also responsible for the trauma I have experienced.
Powerful segments have decided to betray human rights for political convenience and greed. And that is why I still continue to seek justice for Jamal.
Loving requires loyalty, even if you’ve lost your loved one. Even though he is not coming back, I still need to demand what’s right. If your loved one is taken from you unjustly, brutally and in a way that does not fit any human value or definition, then your love can turn into a quest and struggle for justice.
This is my answer to those who constantly insist on asking me: "Why are you still looking for something for Jamal?”
Because I want to live like a dignified human being. I can’t just forget and move on and continue with my life — and decent people everywhere should feel the same way. I want to cause fury against those who did this. I can never represent Jamal’s face and voice, and I have no such intention. But reminding the world of the brutal injustice that was done to him, to me, is the only dignified thing I can do for him.
When your life goes on normally, anything that is experienced or gained becomes a part of your life story. But if you lose a loved one, then you inevitably carry their torch. If there is anything else left that I can do out of my love for Jamal, it is to not forget and to keep demanding justice.