OPINION: Is a journalist’s life worth more than another?

Jamal Khashoggi was a well established journalist who wrote criticism about the practices of Saudi Arabia and their prince. A few months ago in early October, Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Instabul. This raised speculations as to whether he was assassinated by the powerful hands of Saudi Arabia.

Unified’s Kellen Blackwell offers his school of thought on Jamal Khashoggi’s death…


After the recent death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, society has shown yet again that one life can be valued higher than thousands of others.

For many years now, Saudi Arabia has been at the front of multiple war efforts within Yemen. Throughout this time hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children have lost their lives, with many calling it the worst humanitarian disaster in years.

However, despite this catastrophe, there has been no condemnation, or demand for answers from world leaders like there has been over the death of Khashoggi.

Why is it okay for a single death to bring about such retribution and international outcry, when hundreds of thousands are overlooked and ignored?

Do not get me wrong, the murder of any man, woman or child is incredibly sad and demands retrospective action regardless, with Khashoggi’s certainly not being an exception.

‘A little too late’

In fact, I’m pleased that the world is starting to act and is pressuring Saudi Arabia for answers, however I also can’t help the feeling that it is too little too late, especially for all the hundreds of thousands who have already lost their lives to Saudi Arabia’s brutality.

So why was this outcry not made before, when Saudi tanks rolled across Yemen’s borders and into their towns and cities? Why was there no uproar when Saudi Arabia dropped bombs and called in airstrikes on innocent civilians? Or why was there no outrage when Saudi Arabian soldiers raped civilians and used children as young as 8 to fight in their wars?

‘Saudi Arabia is committing war crimes in Yemen’ – Foreign Policy

Other similar injustices can be seen recently as well, when it took the body of the young migrant boy Alan Kurdi washed up on the beach, for the world to take notice of the immigration issue and call for action to be taken for those like little Alan and his family who were only trying to escape a war zone and create a better life for themselves elsewhere.

For too many years now, countries and powerful individuals have been able to get away with murder and other unspeakable acts of human cruelty and corruption.

So why must it take the death of someone important for others to finally notice and speak out?

The answer is simple, it has always been this way. You do not have to look back far in history to find examples of the powerful and mighty abusing and oppressing those who are less fortunate. Here in the UK, corruption and power abuse has always existed and no doubt throughout history many have fallen victim to it.

But surely now times have changed, we as a society have progressed. We are no longer like our ancestors, where the rich and powerful can disregard the lives of the poor, in turn for their own ambitions. But in reality, this is little more than a fairy-tale, yes times have changed and yes, we as the people control and have more of a say in things than ever before.

However, corruption and power abuse still exist across the world, and despite Saudi Arabia’s recent leaps of progression, this highlights just how far they and the rest of the world still need to come.

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