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Short-lived love

October 18, 2018

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THINKING of her upcoming nuptials, smiling within her heart Hatice Cengiz (Khadija Changez), a Turkish citizen, was waiting for her fiancé Jamal Khashoggi, outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

He went to the consulate to get a document certifying his divorce to complete the paper work for their marriage. They met in May 2018 at a conference in Istanbul, fell deeply in love and decided that they were the best choices for each other. Earlier that day on way to the consulate, they made plans to meet family and friends over dinner.

Jamal started his career at a bookstore in Saudi Arabia and continued his journey ahead through ups and downs in the field of journalism. He became a sought after journalist in the Arab world and was regularly invited as guest on major TV news networks in Britain and the United States. He also wanted to launch a pro-democracy group called Democracy for the Arab World Now and hence became a political threat to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

He started to openly criticize the Saudi-led blockade against Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s dispute with Lebanon, the Saudi diplomatic dispute with Canada and the Kingdom’s crackdown on media. He also condemned the arrest of women’s rights advocates in Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, Jamal moved to the US and began writing for the The Washington Post.

Jamal had told his wife-to-be that he had good health, money, fame and everything but what he missed was love, respect and companionship.

He felt very lonely while working and living in Washington alone. Their dreams of building a home and live a beautiful life together brought Jamal from Washington to Istanbul to sort the documentation for their marriage. Hatice saw him not only as a sharp, accomplished journalist and thinker that the world knew, but also a sensitive man with a passionate heart.

After waiting for hours and even after the consulate was closed, a worried Hatice asked the consulate staff where Jamal was she was told that he exited from the back entrance. One heart was silenced, one heart was broken and the whole world noticed.

M Khalid Kamal
Doha, Qatar

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2018