Murder in Constantinople
“When you come to the point, it does go against the grain to murder an Archbishop.”
-Second Knight in T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral
After murdering Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, the knights in Eliot’s play Murder in the Cathedral pause the action and address the audience in contemporary speech. Up to this point the play’s dialogue has been formal and in a broken sort of verse (apologies to Eliot-ans, but the man’s attempts at verse are obscure), but here the knights attempt to excuse their actions in prose. They are as evasive and as full of it as contemporary politicians covering their (tracks).
In real life King Henry, after his “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest!” moment, had the four knights disappeared, as fans of John Le Carre’ might say. Assassins are as disposable as archbishops and journalists who forget their places.
Last week Jamal Kashoggi, a Saudi subject on some business or other, entered the Saudi consulate in Constantinople (only the ill-taught refer to that ancient city on the Golden Horn as Istanbul). He has not been seen since.
Rumor Control & Gossip Central have said that Mr. Kashoggi was murdered and dismembered, maybe not in that order, by Saudi secret agents and that his screams were broadcast by his exercise watch to his cell ‘phone outside the Saudi consulate. Maybe. Can exercise watches broadcast audio?
If there was a murder there will be no witness, for the operatives, like Mr. Kashoggi, will never be seen again. The Saudi crown prince has made friends and functionaries disappear in the past.
Recep Erdogan, the Turkish president who has stuffed lots of Turkish news correspondents into his prisons, purports to be outraged at someone else’s apparent rough treatment of a news correspondent.
Some foreign news sources have suggested that Jamal Kashoggi was a spy. Americans maintain that he was merely a journalist working for amazon.com’s in-house sheet The Washington Post.
That Mr. Kashoggi lived as long as he did is a surprise. According to our own overseas propaganda service, The Voice of America (https://www.voanews.com/a/who-is-jamal-khashoggi/4610403.html), Mr. Kashoggi’s family and pals include arms dealers, Osama Bin Ladin, former directors of the Saudi secret service, and Dodi Fayed. He may also have been associated with something called The Muslim Brotherhood. He was hired and fired and re-hired and re-fired by numerous news outlets, and after the assumption of power (in a coup?) by Saudi Arabia’s latest crown prince Mr. Kashoggi escaped from Saudi Arabia and into the arms of Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post.
Who and what was Jamal Kashoggi? Whose side was he on? Was he on the side of the good, the true, and the beautiful, or was he playing nations against each other?
Though the arm of a tyrant is long, Mr. Kashoggi was relatively safe in the U.S. Why did he travel to Turkey? Why did he enter the Saudi consulate there? For divorce papers? Really?
Our own crown prince and international arms dealer (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/world/middleeast/jared-kushner-saudi-arabia-arms-deal-lockheed.html) (https://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-crown-prince-jared-kushner-relationship-2018-3) is all palsy with the Saudi crown prince. Maybe those two bromance partners could get together over afternoon tea and sort out what happened to Mr. Kashoggi.
“So if we seemed a bit rowdy…”