The image you see above, is part of a full page ad we ran in The New York Times Sunday Edition today, October 21, 2018. Late last night, we were informed that our ad had been pulled, but around 80,000 copies had already left.
The ad had already been approved and paid for. However, that wasn’t the beginning of the story. First, we tried to run it in the Washington Post, who was initially excited, but then kept asking for the artwork to be changed more and more until finally saying they simply didn’t want to run it at all.
It’s brutal. It’s in your face. We get it. That was the whole point. This story is brutal, and affects us all. Jamal Khashoggi simply wanted to be heard, and we wanted to send the message loud and clear:
Here is a link to the original artwork from artist Carty Sewill
See more from Carty Sewill at: cartyis.cartyisme.com
This story really hits close to home for all of us here at Private Internet Access as well as our parent company London Trust Media. I asked several of our authors to express how this story makes them feel, and why it is so important for the world to hear about it, and this is what they had to say:
Violence is the final tool that is used by the oppressor. Regimes that sit on undeserved power use violence as the sometimes literal sword that cuts down opposition and intimidates populations into compliance. The chilling effect of warm blood silences dissent and rewards the oppressor by allowing them to keep standing on the backs of their fellow man.
Citizens of Arabia know that they are living under a long tradition of culturally reinforced norms that do not hold up to the morality of the modern world. Some accept their lot in life, either because it fits their belief system or because the system seems to benefit them, but many others speak out against the unjust world that they live under.
Arabia goes to incredible lengths to prevent cultural change, presumably out of a paranoid fear that with a changing society comes calls for changes to leadership. They censor the internet, censor the news media and television, oppress minority groups, and commit war crimes on their neighbors. The penalty for stepping out of line can be beatings, prison, torture, or death.
Brave people like Jamal Khashoggi spoke out against the Arabian leadership, calling for reform, and was against Arabian military action in Yemen. In doing so, he lost his job, was banned from various internet services, was threatened, and had to flee his home country.
Let’s be honest about what happened. A man was tortured and murdered because he wanted the world to be a better place. The regime made it a point to make an example of him, and make any activists out there think twice before talking about King Salman or Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Tragedies like these, where barbarians are willing to murder their opposition, are the reason that I became a privacy activist. Security and privacy give voices to the oppressed and pierce through censorship. Privacy allows real discussion and exchanges of ideas that bring the world together to do more to understand one another and create positive change. Butchers lose all of their strength when facing an aware audience with a voice behind a curtain of safety. Their brutal ways are rendered ineffective, and the people can fight for positive change.
Thank you for your voice, Jamal Khashoggi.
It is quite evident, that the purpose of this brutal murder was far more than the killing of an innocent human being. It was intended to silence people who think of doing like him, and think independently, criticize wrongs in the world, and attempt to make the world a better place, against the interests of current kings of the hill. This murder was therefore so much more than the slaying of an innocent person. It was a deliberate violent attack on everything that makes us human.
The disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi is becoming a major international incident as Western governments line up to cast doubt on the implausible and inconsistent story offered by Saudi Arabia about his death. It seems increasingly likely Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi security agents, and possibly in a brutal and horrifying manner, if some reports are to be believed. The situation is being made yet worse by the refusal of leading US newspapers to carry advertisements condemning the brutal Saudi censorship of brave journalists like Khashoggi – ironic indeed. This is precisely the moment when they should be standing up against government violence and contempt for international norms, and supporting those people with the courage to call even repressive governments to account. The newspapers’ refusal to do so amounts to a disgraceful complicity in a terrible tragedy.
As a journalist there is nothing more sacred than free speech. Jamal Khashoggi was brave to criticize his government, and for that he was viciously silenced.
But what chills most is the horrifying quiet of our leaders. Our governments, which merrily put sniper rifles in the hands of the Saudi regime, dare not speak up. This is where we must shout loudest. This is where we demand action. We must not let them forget.
Free expression is the most powerful weapon against tyranny—and it is no coincidence that when governments become tyrannical, free expression is often the first right to be eliminated. Jamal Khashoggi died for his commitment to transparency, accountability, and free speech, and his murder is a tragic reminder of the Saudi Arabian government’s hostility towards those ideals.
Using violence to censor free speech is heinous: Murder is the ultimate form of censorship. No matter your religious beliefs, freedom of speech is the holy grail of our world’s interconnected civilization. In a post Internet world, we finally have the ability to share our thoughts in text and other medium in a way that can’t be censored. This doesn’t mean that words can’t lead to malicious actions in the real world, as has happened to Jamal Khashoggi. The only thing that can stop the call of free speech is a chilling effect from acts of ultimate censorship such as this: We must not let that happen. #WeHearYouKhashoggi
Brave journalistic voices are often the only thing holding back oppressive regimes from fully carrying out their totalitarian goals. Such is the case with that brave soul Jamal Khashoggi, a casualty of cruel Saudi Arabian – and ultimately American – authoritarianism. As U.S. presidents past and present wine and dine with Saudi royalty, perpetuating billions of dollars of weapons sales to the tyrannical kingdom, few voices of dissent can be found. But Jamal Khashoggi risked all to expose the systematic human rights abuses of Saudi Arabia’s government, and has been violently silenced. Humanity’s journey toward global freedom cannot progress as long as the bloodshed of journalists is tolerated. In a time where legitimate journalism is so easily dubbed fake news, perhaps it’s time to consider murderous regimes as fake governments, with no legitimate authority to rule. And perhaps it’s time for Americans to wake up and realize the hypocrisy in their government’s love-affair with violent Saudi monarchs. Jamal Khashoggi’s contributions to the quest for freedom in Saudi Arabia will not be soon forgotten. His bravery is an inspiration to those who speak truth to power around the world.
Jamal Khashoggi was a man who fought for truth and freedom but was betrayed by the system. Whilst I did not know Jamal Khashoggi, I respect the work that he did and the values he (and other journalists) fought for.
Whilst I cannot change what has occurred, I swore to help any person who needs it and that has not changed. The fight for freedom and truth is never ending and I will stand with those who fight for them.
My thoughts and condolences are with Jamal Khashoggi’s family and friends at this time.
Veih duinid my chree (Gaelic for “From the bottom of my heart”) #wehearyoukhashoggi
Execution is the most despicable form of censorship. What happened to Jamal Khashoggi was a politically motivated atrocity and a crime against humankind. Information is the key to an enlightened society, and journalists like Jamal risk their lives to report the information we could not possibly obtain on our own. The information these journalists provide, equips us all with the information we need to make informed decisions so we can grow as a society. That makes it one of the most honorable and important professions, and we as a society must do everything we possibly can to protect the people brave enough to accept that responsibility and risk. And when we are unable to keep them safe, it’s up to us to keep their words alive.
When powerful and reliable journalists are silenced, it’s a battle we all lose. Killing of journalists to
create a deterrent for dependable reporting on rigid rules isn’t just a bad news for active political
journalists but for all of us.
The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi has deeply saddened us all, even though it might be “just another
day” for the Saudis. I’d like to remind them that you can kill writers but their words live forever.
I salute the courageous activists, writers, and photographers who work in great risks to demonstrate the
level of corruption and dictatorial powers in certain countries, trying to make things better for all of us.
– Summer Hirst, PIA’s newest blog author – coming soon!