The mutilation and murder of Jamal Khashoggi last October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has been fading out of public memory. But this brutal unpunished act should be unforgettable and unforgivable. Khashoggi, a Saudi-Arabian journalist living in Virginia whom Time magazine called a “Guardian of Truth,” wrote for the Washington Post. His horrific end has historical echoes.
One similar event is the murder on December 29th (ugh, my birthdate!), 1170, of Thomas A’Becket (now Saint Thomas) at his church. In that case, the English king Henry II “famously” said something like “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” and four knights — his hit squad — marched out and hacked him to death in Canterbury Cathedral.
In Khashoggi’s case, reams of evidence show that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (called “MbS”) ordered five hit men from his personal bodyguards to rid him of Khashoggi, who’d been criticizing his mob-like rule of Saudi Arabia. The FBI and the U.N. reported that MbS is responsible for this and many other atrocities, but President Trump refuses to accept their verdict. He admires MsB, along with Putin, Kim Jong-un, and other tyrants. They all hate the press.
The idea that MbS can live smugly with unlimited money, secretly paying $450 million for one of Leonardo da Vinci’s oldest masterpieces, “Salvator Mundi,” a portrait of Christ meant for the whole world, is galling. He apparently enjoys looking at it in private on his $500 million yacht, Serene, where he can enjoy it all by himself. Here are some murky thoughts.
Da Vinci Rondeau
For Jesus’ sake da Vinci painted
Salvator Mundi a sainted
subject soiled with murky hints
that’s it’s been purchased by a prince
whose oily hands are stained and tainted
Da Vinci’s work had been invaded
by artsy scholars well acquainted
with its value which they retinted
for Mammon’s sake
So love and art authenticated
in this small work of genius granted
by unknown gods has now been rinsed
while we can only wait and wince:
Jesus’ head may be replanted
for Allah’s sake
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