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Monday, March 01, 2021


by Indran Amirthanayagam

Graphic by Brian Stauffer to accompany The Washington Post editorial “Mohammed bin Salman is guilty of murder. Biden should not give him a pass.”

Jamal Khashoggi has been killed
for a third time. The first killing

happened just before a bonesaw
shaved his bones in the Saudi

consulate in Istanbul after
he had been kicked, stabbed,

dismembered. The second killing
took place during the show trial

in a Saudi high court, which led
to three acquittals, three prison

terms, five men condemned
to death. Described as foot

soldiers in the murder, not
the masterminds who got off

free, the five were pardoned
later at the behest of Khashoggi's

children. Now, Khashoggi,
father, journalist, betrothed—

remember he visited
the consulate to sign papers

regarding his new love,
impending marriage--

is killed again, this time
by friendly fire. The US

government has decided
that the special relationship,

the oil, the wars in the region,
preclude any punishment

for the crime. The Crown
Prince who ordered

the killing of the scribe
will remain free to engage

the US and any other
government he wishes. Where

do the scales break down?
Why does Jamal Khashoggi's

memory get sawed again,
and how can we live with

our failure to condemn abuse
everywhere, every time?

Indran Amirthanayagam writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. He has 19 poetry books, including The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, 2020) and Sur l'île nostalgique (L'Harmattan, 2020). In music, he recorded Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly, is a columnist for Haiti en Marchewon the Paterson Prize, and is a 2020 Foundation for the Contemporary Arts fellow.