By Ahsan Qazi*
When I sat down to write this article, I was focused on the idea of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and questions that should be directly posed to the Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salam (MBS) and the Saudi regime. It has been a year now since Khashoggi’s murder.
Here, I should add that this article is not going to be a criticism of the Saudi regime. Rather, this article is going to pose very general and basic questions to the global community to reflect upon. Many intellectuals, philosophers, and religious scholars amongst other men from all walks of life have probably attempted to answer these questions; however, a deep and sincere reflection is needed from all of us, which should lead us to ask “Why?”
Having seen clips of Norah O’Donnell latest interview with the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, I had many questions in mind regarding O’Donnell’s methodology of questions and what she posed to MBS. O’Donnell’s latest interview with the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman seemed scripted and preapproved, which is why the Crown Prince MBS comfortably sat down with O’Donnell. O’Donnell’s interview with the Crown Prince MBS was a mockery and an insult to Khashoggi.
Then, I thought that the questions I have as an ordinary person and many other journalists desiring to expose the truth and bring justice for Khashoggi, who would really ask these questions to MBS? I am just a common man, and the voice of the common man holds no value in today’s world before the power and wealth of the mighty “leaders.” Who will really listen? It raises the question of protection that comes with power and wealth. I do not have any wealth nor any power. After all, Saudi activists and many other activists around the globe have been asking questions to their “leaders” with much sacrifice. One key thing that all these activists for truth lacked was the protection of the law and their freedom to freely roam the world without being hunted, be it in the Western world or the Eastern world.
This thought process further triggered a lot of many basic questions in my mind, all starting with “Why” and “How?” As a result, I am going to let this article be a bullet point question list, all starting with “Why.” I ask all these questions to the global community of intellectuals, to the sane political leadership globally, to the social, religious, or any kind of sane “leader” as a very common citizen and like Khashoggi who dared to write and ask his questions, I ask the following:
- What has happened to justice or the idea of justice?
- Why is our idea of justice so skewed from what justice is supposed to be?
- Why is justice always at the mercy of power and wealth?
- Why is power associated with wealth and wealth associated with the manipulation of truth and justice, and even knowing this reality, why is justice still weakened for those who dare to raise their voice?
- Why must an activist run and fear for his life for raising his voice and raising an alarm?
- Why do judges, police, and army sourced out for the powerful and wealthy when such entities are designed for the protection of citizens who give name and meaning to a “state.” Without people, there is no democracy or any form of government.
- Why do the laws that are supposed to protect the rights of those who do not have any power and wealth continue to fail those who need protection the most?
- Why is justice so soft for those with power and wealth and an executioner for a common man who yearns to be heard?
- Why is justice bought with power and wealth but hidden from those who seek it as charity?
- Why does a common man who yearns to be heard must struggle to be heard?
- Why is justice abused and demeaned by those who hold wealth and power? Knowing this reality, why do we continue to live with it and tolerate it whereas a minor sound of an alarm from an ordinary citizen is silenced.
- Why does a journalist have to fear for his life in cases when he is really telling the truth? Take Khashoggi, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and all the global voices of all types of activists silenced?
- Where wealth and resources are made available to accommodate those in power, why are activists shunned and sidelined just because they do not have wealth and power?
- Why does the global justice system (courts in the entire world) continue to stand before a wealthy and powerful figure for his/her protection but the common man is always abandoned and forced to hide because he asked a question?
Have we lost the value of truth and justice? Have we really lost our way that we are afraid to ask the right questions to “powerful” men such as why did O’Donnell not speak with the Turkish intelligence instead of interviewing the Crown Prince MBS? Asking him scripted questions and making it seem as if MBS or Saudi government will give any other answer than the denial does not make sense.
If one is out to seek truth and justice, the individual goes to the sources of truth and justice, not those who are being investigated or should be investigated. I guess I am still waiting for a journalist who will ask “How is that two government planes took off from Saudi and the Kingdom did not know it, and how is that that two planes entered in Turkish airspace, landed in Turkey, and Turkey did not have any idea of the type of “diplomats” on board and their purpose? How is that the hit squad departed with their passports and not a single Saudi or Turkish official at either airport alerted anyone in the government.
All these questions again bring me back to asking, why is justice at the mercy of those who should be shown the full might of justice in its true essence. It seems that we have added so much political noise that we have lost the simplest understanding of the word “justice.” We run around giving one statement that shuts off any inquiry or investigation to uncover truth, “it’s political.” We have lost respect for justice because the law that is supposed to serve justice in its true form actually cracks down upon those who need it the most. Why are we living with this twisted reality? Why are we not asking the right questions in the mainstream media? Why? Why?