As for Us, We Shall Speak the Truth Even with Bullets Pressed to our Breasts

4
1023

The sanctity of human life is one core value held in common by societies around the world. The great Holy Books of the world’s great religions all speak to it. There are several passages in the Bible which refer to the sanctity of human life, amongst them, the Book of Deuteronomy 5:17 states: “You shall not murder.”

The Book of Proverbs 6:16:17 states: “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are in abomination to him: haughty eyes, lying tongue and hands that shed innocent blood.”

Genesis 4:10-11 says, “And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.’”

Matthew 15:19 says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”:

Exodus 20:13 says, “You shall not murder.”

In Genesis 9:6 it says  “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”

Likewise in  the Holy Quran there are several passages that speak to the sanctity of human life:  “Nor take life which God has made sacred, except for a just cause.” Al-Qur’an 17:33.

“We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone slew a person, unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it would be as if he slew the whole of mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of a whole people.“ AL-Qur’an 5:32

“Whosoever has spared the life of a soul, it is as though he has spared the life of all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has murdered all of mankind.” AL-Qur’an 5:32

This newspaper has gone to such lengths to draw attention to what is now being flagged as the suspected murder of Saudi journalist Khassoghi who entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey to update his travel documents but has never been seen since. It is suspected that he was murdered and his body dismembered right in the Saudi consulate although its officials have denied the claim, and insisted that journalist Khassoghi left the consulate although all the evidence suggest otherwise.

Not surprisingly this development has pricked the conscience of the international community from whence calls are mounting for pressure to be exerted on the Saudis to compel them to account for the missing journalist. It was indeed disheartening and shocking to hear United States President Donald Trump unashamedly declaring that due to the US$110 billion purchase of US military equipment the Saudis were making from the United States, that great bastion of democracy and its self-acclaimed status as a respecter and promoter par excellence, of human rights world-wide, would put the matter of the missing journalist on the back burner.

The message that President Trump appeared to convey to the world in reaction to the journalist’s cowardly murder, is that greed for money and outlandish profit for US corporate interests tower far above all considerations of human rights and, by extension, the sanctity of human life. Indeed, President Trump’s comments have portrayed him as a callous, inhumane and greedy corporatist whose concerns for human rights, including those of American citizens, rank him on par with world leaders who have earned notoriety by their own acts. Such leaders include Teodorin Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Charles Taylor, Yoweri Museveni, Samuel Doe and a host of others.

As it appears, greedy corporate interests seem to be setting the bar for what is considered acceptable behavior no matter how obnoxious such behavior may appear. Bringing the matter closer to home, this newspaper is left to wonder what about accountability for those responsible for the murder of the five American nuns.

Why, for example, were US prosecutors in the Tom Woewiyu trial careful to strike and arrangement with Woewiyu to avoid raising the issue of the nuns’ murder by individuals whose identities and whereabouts are well known to US intelligence? Is the life of the Saudi journalist, a columnist for the Washington Post, so trifling that it can be easily exchanged for a purchase of instruments of death? This newspaper refuses to accept this fatally flawed and warped sense of the dignity and sanctity of human life that President Trump has conveyed by his response to the disappearance and suspected murder of journalist Khassoghi.

In truth, President Trump has, by his remarks, given a strong shot in the arm to impunity. The huge wealth that the Saudi ruling family has amassed from national oil revenues undergirded by a Wahhabist interpretation of the Holy Qur’an enables and emboldens them to sponsor jihadist movements and insurrections around the world. This ruling family is leaving bloody footprints in Yemen where they have intervened militarily, bombing civilians including women and children and laying waste to that country which has triggered a massive exodus of people from that country.

From all indications, Saudi Arabia, ruled by a feudal monarchy, and where only recently women have been given the right to drive, and where there is no press freedom and zero tolerance to religious freedom, is no respecter of human rights. Yet, this is a regime which has not earned the censure of the United States, who has reserved the most scathing comments for the government of President Nichols Maduro of Venezuela, has maintained a longstanding criminal like blockade/embargo against Cuba and sponsored violent regime change  adventures in Liberia.

The disappearance and murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi should be condemned by all well-meaning peoples the world over, particularly by journalists. Khashoggi’s brutal murder only serves to remind ourselves of the fate suffered by several Liberian journalists including Charles Gbenyon, Tyrone Davis, John Vambo amongst others, not to mention the likes of Albert Porte, Tuan Wreh, Rufus Darpoh etc. Be it as it may, the Daily Observer is not dismayed, deterred or discouraged by this grim reminder because, “As for us, we shall speak the truth even with bullets pressed to our breasts”.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Your commentaries and opinions always hit the core of the issues; your essays are insightful; very informative and most of all, I do endear them because of their high level of didacticism.

    Not a day have I visited your site and did not learn a life lesson from the news, editorial and opinion columns of your site.

    History teaches us that journalism can sometimes become a treacherous profession in Liberia and many other parts of the world for that matter, but you have stood up to the challenges. You write fearlessly caring less about anybody’s tribe; religious, political and socio-economic status.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. This commentary misses the point of justice that is based on factual predicate. And to further suggest that the U.S has ignored the disappearance and death of the Journalist is solely based on emotionalism and lack any judicious thought. The fact is this. There is going to be a high price paid by Saudi Arabia as the investigation unfolds and if proven that the Saudi’s Prince was involved in directing the murder of this Journalist. And that high prize will be dictated by a bi-partisan Congress of the United States. The commentary seems to have already concluded with the investigation of the case and demands that the U.S act based on unproven assumptions. The U.S doesn’t work like that. No matter the emotionalism and the gravity of the matter, the facts must be ascertained and that the U.S is doing.

    In quoting scriptures from the Bible, in an attempt at convicting the U.S for its ongoing probe, the writer already convicted himself by slandering the U.S of inaction when in fact the U.S is still probing the issue. There are many sides the U.S has to hear from, including the Saudis, the Turks and other evidences. To conclude that the U.S has decided to put this on the back burner because of existing bilateral trade and military agreements between the two countries is incorrect and lack any supporting evidence other than one’s own moral judgment of what and how they would like to see the U.S proceed with the case. Misapplying Old Testament Scriptures (e.g., Gen. 4:10-11, when God was speaking to Cain about the killing of his brother or Genesis 9:6, the murdering of someone who murdered another, though under the old covenant there were conditions laid out which the writer ignored) should not be the basis for accurately prosecuting this matter.

    This is why a War Crimes Court is needed in Liberia. It allows for a judicious review of what happened prior to and during civil wars in Liberia and bring to law those alleged to have being responsible for the carnage against innocent citizens to vindicate themselves. To prematurely convict someone without a forum of due process only creates another issue of unfair treatment towards those convicted without due process. The approach the U.S is taking protects both the judicial process championed by the U.S. so that at the end of the day, if Saudi’s officials are culprits in the murder, you can bet the U.S Congress will press the King to designate another Prince to replace the current Prince who is now a suspect. The full force of the U.S Congress will be upon the Saudi kingdom. Legal processes should not be thrown out the window simply because something atrocious has taken place.

Leave a Reply