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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: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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