Global Opinions

We have been deprived of Jamal Khashoggi’s voice. But his silence says it all.

(Ann Kiernan for The Washington Post)

Hatice Cengiz was Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee.

Two years ago, I believed I was embarking soon on one of the happiest days of my life. But today, I am writing this in memory of a tragic day that should not be forgotten by anyone — the day my fiance, Jamal Khashoggi, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and was brutally murdered.

Over the past two years, I have had to deal with the pain and disappointment that those who committed this heinous crime and killed an innocent man in the most brutal way, and those who ordered this monstrosity, remain unprosecuted and unpunished. Starting with United States, most of the governments of the world have done nothing to push forward this case.

One of the things I remember Jamal telling me is that, if we want to make the Middle East a better place, we need to take part in the process of making changes, and not just be a spectator on the sidelines. I was not the only one who needed his voice, writings, thoughts and advice. So did many others.

For too long we have all been deprived of his writing, and for too long we have had to only guess at what he would say about the current developments. It’s a thought that always crosses my mind: How would he evaluate this situation? What would his take on it be?

Jamal was a man who got his strength from his thoughts and his writing. The silence that comes with death can say a lot to those who understand it. Often, death leaves behind countless regrets and wishes. So many of his friends come and give me their condolences, and I can see the pain and regret in their eyes; there is no need for words. But the lawmakers who have chosen to stay deaf instead of taking proper measures are governing with their own interests in mind.

So many things that Jamal didn’t say, or dare to say, during his lifetime, he is now saying with silence after his death. His voice has reached all those who watched and followed news about the murder from different corners of the world. With his writings, stance, sincerity and his nation-loving spirit, he was the best representation of himself and his values. How lucky that we had his grace and insights, which were so original and important, for a time. But how unlucky that we now have leaders who cannot pass the test of humanity, and who are ignoring all the human values and international law. History will not look kindly on these leaders.

This is a test that will unmask all those who talk about democracy today — and deepen the embarrassment for all those who obstruct justice. If you are in a position of authority, you have an obligation to live up to that responsibility and do what is right, or else harm both the position and your own reputation.

Today, we live in a time when it is more important than ever for United States to prove that it still cares about the rule of law. It’s not just about Jamal; for countries to maintain their legitimacy and moral standing, they need to push for justice in this case. Yet, though the U.S. administration and others had evidence and records to help shed light on the murder, they chose not to officially release it to the world. With its silence, the Trump administration seems deprived of any values except the race for material gain. If this is their vision for the future, they will leave nothing but a land of empty freedoms behind them.

Saudi Arabia closed the case of Jamal’s murder in recent days, with a judicial process that is nothing but a laughable mockery. And now, they are about to host an important event, the Group of 20 summit, in November. The most logical thing for world leaders to do today — the best punishment for the Saudi crown prince right now, even if it comes too late — is not to attend this virtual summit. This would be a way to avoid giving any additional legitimacy to the current Saudi administration that bears the responsibility for this murder and is still managing to escape its consequences.

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