The White House’s reaction to the 2002 killing of Daniel Pearl, above, is markedly different from how the current administration has approached the murder of another journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Does anyone remember Daniel Pearl? He has occupied many of my thoughts lately in the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Daniel Pearl’s widely-publicized 2002 murder in Pakistan at the hands of al-Qaeda was one of many crutches in the Bush administration’s massive anti-Islam campaign post-9/11. I remember a Republican White House that was seething after the horrific video of Daniel Pearl’s murder surfaced; I remember his grieving widow’s heart-rending statement about not giving in to the savagery of terrorists.

Where is that rage and candor now? It was present in both Bush administrations, and in the Obama administration when ISIL was killing people in the same manner. Trump has flippantly stated that Khashoggi, despite permanent residence and a sterling record as a journalist for the Washington Post, “wasn’t a citizen.” Well, Daniel Pearl had dual citizenship with Israel. Nobody dismissed his murder. His grisly end was met with the full fury of the White House and the man who orchestrated it was sentenced to hang, and is currently imprisoned in Karachi Prison in Pakistan. Many of the people who served under that administration are still members of the White House staff. Surely they remember.

The key difference here, it appears, is that the violence enacted against Khashoggi is state-mandated by the Saudi government, unlike the rogue militants of al-Qaeda and ISIL. If we have a White House that is OK with the murder of a journalist because of dissenting opinions he held about the Saudi government, how can he truly value freedom of speech? What’s to stop him from doing the same, given enough power? Human beings are not pawns in a grand scheme of terror and greed, and I am disappointed to say the least in how the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a massive and horrific human rights violation, seems to come second to the art of the deal.

Amanda Ogden Bonnevie

South Portland


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