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”.