D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) announced plans to introduce legislation that would designate the road in front of the Saudi Embassy, on New Hampshire Avenue between Virginia Avenue and F Street in Northwest, as Jamal Khashoggi Way. Khashoggi, 59, a journalist who lived in Virginia in self-imposed exile from Saudi Arabia and whose columns appeared in The Post, was killed on Oct. 2, 2018, after being lured to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on the pretext of providing him papers for his upcoming wedding. After he was strangled, his body was dismembered and disposed of but never recovered; the Saudi regime hasn’t had the decency to produce his remains. Instead, enabled to the end by President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the crown prince and his regime have lied about the premeditated murder and sought to dodge all accountability.
Ms. Pinto said her proposed legislation was prompted in part by the recent assault on the Capitol, which included attacks on journalists. “Jamal Khashoggi,” she said in a statement, “knew that by shining a light on Saudi Arabia and seeking truth, he risked his freedom and, indeed, his life. Journalists around the world and here in America face similar dangers every day, and we must never let those who seek to intimidate them succeed, because when journalism is under assault, our freedom and democracy are under assault.”
With the inauguration of Joe Biden as president on Jan. 20, the United States has a chance to honor Khashoggi’s life in more substantive ways as well. Mr. Biden and many of his incoming officials have spoken clearly about the reckless amorality of the crown prince. They can reorient U.S. policy to make clear that no healthy, normal relationship is possible with Saudi Arabia until it punishes those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder; frees the women’s rights activists and others who are being held and were tortured for peaceful protest and expression; stops holding hostage the family members of Saudi dissidents abroad; and ceases its war crimes in neighboring Yemen.
Such a policy, consistent with American and global values of respect for the dignity of human life and human rights, might hasten the day when Saudis have a government they can be proud of. When that day comes, Saudi diplomats themselves will be proud to say that they go to work every day on Jamal Khashoggi Way.