The alleged killing and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives has sent shock waves throughout the media and the larger international community. Calls have been made to boycott Saudi companies and support U.S. sanctions on Saudi Arabia, but the voice that rings clearest throughout the hurricane of emotions and opinions is Khashoggi’s own. On Oct. 17, the Washington Post published Khashoggi’s last column, which coincidentally described the realities of the Arab media community that contributed to the suspected motives behind his disappearance.

The column comments on the misinformation and lack of information available for Arab citizens due to the censorship and suppression tactics of the hegemonic governments that control the media. Khashoggi mentions the unfair imprisonment of his friend, Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, as an example of an atrocity that failed to capture the attention of the international community, an example that carries the somber irony of foreshadowing in the context of Khashoggi’s own situation. He goes on to caution the world about the free reign afforded to Arab countries when journalists are unable to safely report on their experiences.

It’s easy to feel helpless when confronted with issues of international scale. The nuances of global politics are difficult to comprehend, let alone influence, but in this instance, we as members of the media community, readers and writers alike, are presented with an opportunity to effect real change. Khashoggi’s final published paragraph imparted the need for more Arab voices to be elevated in publications through the creation of an independent international forum, aimed at addressing the structural problems affecting Arab societies today. We, as an editorial board, wholeheartedly support the creation of such an entity and encourage our readers to support organizations that start initiatives to highlight Arab voices in journalism in the coming years. Regimes are temporary, but culture is durable, and cultural change cannot be effectively achieved without loud voices with high platforms. As members of the global community, we are actively witnessing a political culture of predation. It’s our imperative to facilitate appropriate avenues for change when we can. Khashoggi spent a lifetime dedicated to the cause of illuminating the Arab world for Western readers. The least we can do is help other Arab journalists honor his memory by shining that same light for their own communities.

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