Washington: The last column written by Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, before he disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, has been published by the Washington Post.
In his last column before the disappearance, Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi policy, issued a passionate call for free expression in the Arab world. Reflecting on the hope that many in the region had in 2011, as uprisings swept through the Middle East, in what has widely been called the Arab Spring, Khashoggi wrote, “Journalists, academics and the general population were brimming with expectations of a bright and free Arab society within their respective countries.” “These expectations were quickly shattered; these societies either fell back to the old status quo or faced even harsher conditions than before.”
Mentioning the increasing crackdowns on journalists by Arab governments, Khashoggi called for a “platform for Arab voices.” He stated, “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.”
Fred Hiatt, who runs the Post’s Opinions section, described Khashoggi as an “extremely warm and generous” man who “helped innumerable journalists who wanted to understand the Mideast. … If this could happen to Jamal, it can happen to any journalist and that’s, to my mind, not the kind of world any of us want to live in”, he said.