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Hear Jamal Khashoggi's powerful final op-ed

CNN's Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto read Jamal Khashoggi's final column for the Washington Post. The column, entitled "What the Arab World Needs Most is Free Expression," was filed just days before he disappeared.

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 1:17 AM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 1:48 AM

The Washington Post has published what the newspaper describes as the "last piece" written by missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was allegedly killed and dismembered in his country's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

In a note at the top of the column, published late Wednesday, Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah wrote that she "held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us."

"Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen," she said. "This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for."

In the piece, Khashoggi bemoaned the lack of free expression in the Arab world, leaving the majority of its population "unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives."

He contrasted the current situation with the sentiment felt by many during the Arab Spring, when they hoped to be "emancipated from the hegemony of their governments and the consistent interventions and censorship of information," only to have those expectations dashed as revolutions -- both peaceful and violent -- failed or were crushed by outside intervention.

One of the biggest players in pushing back against the tide or Arab populist revolt was the Saudi regime itself, which sent tanks into Bahrain, embraced tottering dictators, and stamped down on any signs of dissent at home.

Some observers had seen in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) an alternative avenue to reform in the kingdom. New York Times writer Tom Friedman, who this week was forced to defend his previous cheerleading of MBS, wrote in November last year that the kingdom was "going through its own Arab Spring, Saudi style."

Khashoggi, who was allegedly killed by members of the crown prince's inner circle, had a more measured view of his country's de facto ruler. In a column from September last year -- one of several that allegedly angered Riyadh and made it impossible for Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia -- he wrote that MBS had "promised an embrace of social and economic reform," but instead pursued a crackdown on dissent.

"He spoke of making our country more open and tolerant and promised that he would address the things that hold back our progress, such as the ban on women driving," Khashoggi said. "But all I see now is the recent wave of arrests."

In that column, he also criticized the tightening space for free speech in the kingdom, and recounted how he was fired from a newspaper and forced off Twitter for being too critical of government policies.

According to CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, MBS has moved Saudi from a consensus based absolute monarchy -- where criticism was limited but not unheard of -- "toward a totalitarian dictatorship in which all aspects of society are controlled by him and all forms of dissent are stifled."

This was a topic Khashoggi had written about as well. As a member of the Saudi elite and former adviser to the royal family who was still influential inside the Kingdom, Khashoggi was becoming more and more of a rarity under MBS, and his criticisms may have stung more than those of a regular, unconnected dissident, and sparked a more extreme reaction.

In his final column for the Post, he warned that the "Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power."

Khashoggi's answer to the paucity of adversarial media in Arab countries is to fund and promote a transnational media organization.

"We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education," Khashoggi said. "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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
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Washington5218130
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Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
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Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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