On October 2, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national, and Washington Post contributor, walked into his country’s consulate in Istanbul. He was never seen again.
Mr Khashoggi was executed, brutally and swiftly it seems. We can’t be sure, of course, because what happened took place in secret, deep within the precincts of a fortified building. Nevertheless, most of the world remains justifiably outraged by what it may not have seen, yet believes to be true.
I could be wrong, but can’t help suspect that for more than a few Westerners, the shock of what was done to Jamal Khashoggi is blunted somewhat by the fact the crime took place there, among those people.
Meanwhile, in the cultural heart of the West, a murder no less brutal for being so protracted, has taken place, not in secret, but a French hospital, broadcast on video, and argued in French courts as well as before the EU and UN.
Late last night, Vincent Lambert, a 43 year-old psychiatric nurse, became the latest casualty of woke authoritarianism; his death, like that of Jamal Khashoggi, deemed necessary by those who feel entitled by their causes to pass judgements of life and death consequence.
Many well-intentioned folks were reduced to hand-wringing, immobilized by the alleged complexity of the case. And while it can, at first glance, seem complicated, it’s actually much less so when the foundations are examined.
Those who prosecuted Vincent’s execution held a) It was cruel to keep the hopeless vegetable of a man “alive” by extraordinary means. b) His wife insisted Vincent would never wish to exist under the circumstances to which he was confined. c) His parents sought to impose their Catholic beliefs, (read, superstitions), on their son, making him an unwitting pawn in a tedious campaign of pro-life fanaticism.
There are other arguments, but these are the most compelling. Except, they’re not compelling at all.
Taking them in reverse order c) Vincent’s parents were hardly alone in opposing this injustice. Pope Francis, and The UN Committee for the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, are but two of the pro-life “fanatics” that stood clearly and publicly with the parents.
b) Despite her claims, Vincent’s wife supplied no evidence to support them. This doesn’t mean she was lying, but Vincent was a medical professional, and no doubt familiar with the importance of the issue. When someone’s life is at stake, we ought to demand something more definitive from those proposing to terminate it.
a) The arbiters of the sentence asserted that Vincent was, in effect, a vegetable – a former person – and therefore impervious to the torturous effects of food/water deprivation. Let’s pretend for a moment that this was correct. Logic obliges us to ask, what possible harm it would have done then to allow Vincent’s parents to cart their vegetablehome, and care for it privately, at their own expense? The answer is, none, and ignoring the fundamental logic of this has once more proven catastrophic.
Neither Khashoggi or Lambert was dying the day they died. Rather, a decision was made to put an end to each. Their lives, in fact, were taken – objectified, dehumanized, and taken – in causes whose differences notwithstanding, are driven by the same grim spirit.
The pursuit of justice for Jamal Khashoggi continues – even among those people over there – dragging truth from shadow to light. It should.
In France, the truth of what took place in broad daylight is being swept to the voicelessness of shadow. For, as Yeats put it, The best lack all conviction. They should not. They must not.