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The tale of two diametrically opposite Saudi Khashoggis - Jamal and Adnan
To be a court jester, a pen-pusher and lickspittle is easy and rewarding materially these days; to be an honest and brave journalist is risky, dangerous and at times fatal. From banana republics to autocracies, from tyranny and dictatorship to even so-called sophisticated democratic states, the victim of heady power of a tyrant state is a journalist. Everyone can bring back a few names of victims without racking the brain.

And the latest victim of this pervasive torturous tendency of 'silencing every sort of opposition' is the famous Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He had fled the Kingdom in September 2017, months after Prince Mohammed was appointed heir to the throne and amid a campaign that saw dozens of dissidents arrested, including intellectuals and Islamic preachers. He had been banned from writing in the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, owned by Saudi prince Khaled bin Sultan al-Saud, over his defence of the Muslim Brotherhood which Riyadh has blacklisted as a terrorist organisation. His Twitter account was banned after he wrote that the country should be "rightfully nervous about a Trump presidency."

Ironically, the US President Donald Trump had expressed support for new Saudi Crown Prince.

Jamal Khashoggi was born in the holy city of Madina in 1958. He received elementary and secondary education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration from US in 1982. Jamal Khashoggi began his career as a regional manager for Tihama Bookstores from 1983 to 1984. Later, he worked as a correspondent for the famous Saudi English newspaper 'Saudi Gazette.' He was also the deputy editor-in-chief of 'Arab News,' the leading English newspaper of the Kingdom.

Khashoggi became the editor-in-chief of 'Al Watan' and was fired in May 2003 by the Saudi ministry of information. He went to London in voluntary exile. He came back and in April 2007 and began to work as editor-in-chief in Al Watan again. He had to resign again on 17 May 2010.

He had been following Osama bin Laden's career since the 1980s and had interviewed him several times.

Please don't confuse him with the ex-Saudi playboy Adnan Khashoggi who was famous for the top-of-the-world extravagance. He was a broker of huge arms deals. He ran a multinational corporation and did it, to all intents and purposes, out of his private jet. As Robert Lacey wrote in his book: "The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Saud," Khashoggi's plane was "a 20th century magic carpet shuttling him between his offices in London, New York, Geneva, Paris, Beirut and Riyadh." And that was not counting the parties on his enormous yacht off the Cote d'Azur or the epic soirees in Beverly Hills. In 1988, Khashoggi sold his famous yacht, the Nabila, named for his daughter, only to see it bought a couple of transactions later by Donald Trump, who named it "The Trump Princes".

The author of several bestsellers - Harold Robbins, wrote a book 'The Pirate' 1974 that closely described Adnan's life style. In 1989 Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland and extradited to the United States on charges that he helped the infamous former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, hide $300 million worth of Manhattan properties and art works. As it happens with many big fortunes and quick-successes, Adnan Khashoggi also fell on hard times and his worth reduced from billions to millions and ultimately he went broke. He was buried under unlimited debts.

Now the other Khashoggi, Jamal Khashoggi, he is neither a great businessman nor an arms broker. He is no match to dream wealth of Adnan. The poor journalist, Jamal had entered the Saudi's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2 to obtain a document he needed to get married. He never came out. On October 3, the Saudi government said he had left the consulate. The Turkish government said he was still inside, and his fiancee and friends said he was still missing.

In his column for the 'The Washington Post' a year ago, the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had explained why he and others who had dared criticize the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had been forced to go into self-imposed exile: "We are not opposed to our government and care deeply about Saudi Arabia. It is the only home we know or want. Yet we are the enemy."

On this Friday, the space where Jamal Khashoggi's column used to appear was blank, with only his photograph, the headline "A missing voice" and his byline over an empty space.

Let the readers recall that the intolerance for criticism has not been limited to Saudi subjects only. When Canada urged Saudi authorities to release the arrested sister of an imprisoned blogger this summer, the Saudi government recalled its ambassador, froze trade relations, pulled Saudi students out of Canada and cancelled flights between Saudi Arabia and Toronto.

God save the honest and bold journalist – a rare species these days. God save the earth from the brute dictators.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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