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How much do we know about Saudi Arabia?

17 3 1

One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent journalists has been missing since Oct. 2. He was last seen entering the building of the Consulate-General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. Turkish officials and media say he was murdered inside the consulate, while the government in Riyadh fiercely denies the reports.

Washington seems to be divided. The mainstream media as well as Congress are deeply concerned about this potentially brutal human rights abuse, even warning of severe sanctions against the oil-rich desert kingdom. The Trump administration is still ambiguous about what kind of punitive measures it will take if and when Saudi Arabia’s involvement is confirmed.

Seen from Tokyo, I would say nobody seems to have grasped the entire picture of this incredible incident. I am a former Arabic language officer at the Foreign Ministry. Although I was never stationed in Saudi Arabia, my minimum knowledge about the kingdom and the Middle East raises the following questions.

1. Is his family name Khashoggi?

English-language media spell his name “Jamal Khashoggi,” probably because he uses that spelling. The Japanese media follow their Western counterpart and pronounce the name “KA-SHO-GI.” They are wrong. If you know Arabic, you don’t call his name like this. His family name is pronounced “Khaa-shuq-jee” in his native language.

It was almost two weeks after he disappeared in Istanbul when CNN finally started changing the pronunciation of his family name from “Kha-show-guee” to “Kha-shuq-she,” still close but no cigar. You may........

© The Japan Times