An effort underway in Washington, D.C., would create an in-your-face way to remind Saudi Arabia of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi: Rename the street in front of the Saudi embassy in honor of the slain journalist.
The first hurdle for this proposed honor was cleared Wednesday when a neighborhood group approved a resolution that would symbolically designate part of the street that runs in front of the Embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as “Jamal Khashoggi Way.” The embassy’s address is 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW.
The resolution from the seven-member Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A passed unanimously, commissioner James Harnett told CNN. The commission, which is part of the government in the District of Columbia, normally handles local issues like zoning, parking and trash collection in the West End and Foggy Bottom neighborhoods. But Harnett said commissioners were outraged by Khashoggi’s killing, as well as President Trump’s reaction to it, and felt the need to take action on an international issue.
“I think our concern … and the need to say we want to weigh in on this issue, which has international implications, is that we are extremely disappointed over the lack of concern” in the White House’s response to the incident, Harnett said. “It’s our belief … that when there’s a vacuum of leadership that someone steps up and makes sure that the community knows that this is something that we take seriously.”
Street name could serve as reminder
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of the kingdom, was killed on October 2 after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage. The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of the journalist. Turkish officials maintain that Khashoggi was strangled to death shortly after he entered the consulate by a 15-member “kill team” sent from Riyadh and that his body was dismembered.
Trump indicated last week he will not take strong action against Saudi Arabia or bin Salman for the slaying.
Harnett hopes naming the street in Khashoggi’s honor might be a constant reminder to the Saudis that the US won’t forget what happened to him while also reaffirming America’s commitment to freedom of the press.
“This action will force the Saudis to remember, every day. This assault on the press is unforgivable and is deeply harmful to fabric of the truth,” he said. “Leaders at all levels of government need to stand up in whatever ways they can to support people, make their lives better, and push for what’s right. Up against the leaders who have abandoned their duty, this proposal is our way of pushing back.