Home > journalism > Dear Jamal,

Dear Jamal,

You are in my thoughts more than I can express. Everything I read regarding your torture and your terrible murder burns me and makes my heart pound as though it had happened to someone very close, not a person whose existence I wasn’t even aware of until a short while ago.


I suppose it’s only natural. In a world gone completely crazy since the 2016 election of that dangerous clown to the presidency of the U.S., as though the ugly, corrupt and brutal strongmen and women (including Aung San Suu Kyi, alas, yet another illustration that if power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely) weren’t enough to commit mass murder, spew racist and bigoted rants, make us doubt our own senses as we follow the news, there were and still are people like you, stalwart, honest, intent on finding and sharing facts. Though aware of the risks of your profession as a journalist when it is exercised with the intention to tell the truth about the vileness overtaking the world, when you find it indispensable to search for truth and see it as your sworn duty to eschew nothing and stress the importance of freedom of speech and expression, you continued, doggedly, on and on.

You knew these people and groups as an insider, from close and direct contact–the ugly piece of work dubbed MBS and, in earlier years, the raving, dangerous Muslim Brotherhood, the murderous Al-Qaeda. You stepped into this mess with eyes wide open, aware of courting disaster every day but still making sure your voice was heard. The journalist in you, bemoaning the lack of freedom in Muslim countries, as you wrote in your columns for the Washington Post, the Arab in you, wishing that Arab countries would some day understand the importance of openness and the right to express oneself, the Muslim in you not giving up the hope that centuries-old mechanisms could be reversed and thought frozen in dogma could open up, led you to bravely continue to openly criticize and offer sane and generous recipes to counter all that poison.

You were so wrong, Jamal, and you suffered so terribly for imagining that hopeless, power-mad individuals and regimes can eventually be susceptible to logic and reason. Or did you think it worth trying despite knowing their exact nature?

Every day, new details emerge of what you went through before dying for your ideals, ideals in retrospect almost ridiculous in view of the ugliness of the world today. But it was not for nothing. I hope it was not for nothing. You soldiered on, you fought, you died for what you believed, as all the brave journalists murdered these last years, knowing the risks and not giving up. Their names should be remembered and honored, from Anna Politkovskaya to Daniel Pearl to James Foley to Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and so many—too many–others.

Myself and people like me, who believe that one day these sacrifices will bear fruit, that not only admirable journalists such as yourself are remembered and vindicated but that you will have contributed to brushing off the world scene scum such as Trump or MBS or others of their ilk, miss you and thank you.

  1. Melinda A Barnhardt
    October 20, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    The relationship between between the repeated glossing over of amoral acts by the current resident of the White House and Kashoggi’s vile treatment and death is only too clear. I write during a break from door knocking for the Resistance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melinda A Barnhardt
    October 20, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    The relationship between the repeated glossing over of amoral acts by the current resident of the White House and Kashoggi’s vile treatment and death is all too clear. I write during a break from door knocking for the Resistance.


    • October 20, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you. Absolutely. When barriers are knocked down, as though by a crazy herd of mafiosi, anything goes.


  3. Mary McKinley
    October 20, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    A beautiful, fitting tribute, Saideh. What a savage world ours has become.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sue Ellen Hearn
    October 20, 2018 at 10:48 pm



    • October 21, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks. I hope y’all are getting ready to vote for Beto. Right now, I wish I were Texan.


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