by Morak Babajide-Alabi

The word lying is the present participle of “lie”, which means being untruthful or giving a false statement. A lie is an intentional statement, known to the speaker to be false, but made to another person, or group of people with to deceive them. The goal of a lie is deception, which is achieved by covering up the truth.

As an example, we can generalise that politicians, especially those from developing countries, such as Nigeria or Cameroun or Bolivia “are respected” for their adroitness in lying. They lie to be elected to offices, and sustain the lies while in offices by pretending to have the interests of the electorates at heart. Meanwhile, they fill their pockets with public funds, at the expense of the electorate. We have not labelled them liars out of cruelty but from experience.

Let us bring this down to a personal level and reflect on the different types of friends we have. Some we can count on to come through for us at any moment and some we keep to increase the tally of the numbers. Not minding the description we give these friends, we all have this particular friend, whose only value is his or her lying skill. We may have, many times, been at the receiving end of the lies of these friends, yet we still admire their “quality” of lying.

Out of “admiration”, we show them off by relating their classic lies for others to enjoy or to evaluate. To be honest some of the lies may be unbelievable but I have learnt not to judge a lie good until I hear the next one.

With events unfolding on the global stage in the past three weeks, you would exercise caution before you show off your friend’s lies. The rate at which some lies are dressed as truth and bandied about may be on a scale no lying friend can compete on. But then, pause and remind yourself that those perpetrators are also friends to some people. So, they hold the bragging rights.

If there is any justice in this world, the Saudi Arabian government would be the winner of the global “2018 lying entity”. As it stands right now, no other country can rival or be close to their records of lies, deceptions and cover-ups – we need to acknowledge talent when we see one.

The country, its leaders and especially the royal family are in the news for the past three weeks for the wrong reasons. It’s all got to do with the disappearance and murder of the Saudi exiled writer Jamal Khashoggi. As a result, they have weaved a web of lies in which they have now got entangled in. It was not long before they realised that it takes more than horrible lies to convince the world that the fate that befell Khashoggi was not ordered from the top.

The world is now left with more questions than answers since the disappearance of the writer. At every step of the unfolding drama, the Saudis have exposed their foolishness with the series of lies they are trying to sustain. Their desperate efforts to “cover the holes” have instead shown them as people with very shallow thinking faculties.

The drama which started on October 2 was to have been a normal consulate visit by a citizen. Unfortunately, it turned to a walk into death. Khashoggi was reported to have feared something unpalatable would happen to him on the visit. He had anticipated evil, but not in the form it ultimately got him. He had told his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who accompanied him on this visit to raise alarm if he did not appear from the consulate within a reasonable time.

This whole episode would have been a wrap for the Saudis had Cengiz not gone along for the visit. They thought they had their tracks covered, and all that was needed was a mop-up after. But they did not presume Cengiz angle nor the fact that the Turkish officials would be on their case as much as they are now. No one would have thought of this too. The crime was committed inside a consulate which under the international convention is covered by diplomatic immunity.

The Turks did not take the news of Khashoggi’s disappearance lightly. They had maintained from the onset that he was tortured and killed inside the consulate. They never wavered in their insistence and have been tactically releasing pieces to support this claim.

A few days into the saga, Turkey President Erdogan said: “I am chasing. We will, of course, share the result with the world”, as he said, “all the footage of entrance or exit of the embassy is under investigation.”

Erdogan had not taken his foot off the pedal since this first statement as he continues to pile pressure on the Saudis. During the ruling party conference last week, Erdogan called the Saudis out again. He condemned their “lie” that Khashoggi was mistakenly killed in a fisticuff in the consulate. He had said: “Intelligence and security institutions have evidence showing the murder was planned … Pinning such a case on some security and intelligence members will not satisfy us or the international community.”

On Thursday the Saudis made a U-turn as its attorney general admitted the murder of Khashoggi in the consulate was premeditated. From a ridiculous denial that Khashoggi did not disappear in the consulate to the lie that he was mistakenly killed, the Saudis finally accepted what the world already knew.

There is no doubt that Khashoggi was set up for the murder. He had previously visited the consulate on September 28 to obtain a document to show that he had officially divorced his ex-wife. He was told to come back on this fateful day.

The Saudis announced the arrest of 18 citizens in the investigation. Fifteen of the arrested individuals were part of the squad the Turks picked up in their investigations as arriving and leaving the country on the day. They were more like the Russian hit squad of two that flew into the UK, did their dirty business in Salisbury, and caught the next plane home.

The past three weeks have been a hard time for, not only the families of the missing journalist but humanity in general. When the news of the disappearance broke, not a few thought it could turn out to be a big deal as it is now. We thought there was a misunderstanding of the facts and he would turn up somewhere eventually.

The Saudis are still in denial of what happened to Khashoggi. Till date, they are speaking in tongues, parables and releasing the information they have in bits. They are yet to account for the remains of Khashoggi, which the Turks are suggesting to have been mutilated, cut up and disposed of.

It is hard to fathom what went wrong or took over the thoughts of the Saudis. The harder we try to work out the workings of their minds, the more confused we are, with no hope of a solution. Yet, we know something very evil have enveloped those who are in the control of affairs of the kingdom.

Right now it is hard to think of how many murders are carried out in “diplomatic circles” all over the world. A very dark world that makes one wonder how many individuals have met their untimely deaths in places where they are expected to be protected. Khashoggi’s death has exposed the many crimes that are committed under the guise of diplomatic immunity.
 
As written for the column Diaspora Matters, Sunday Vanguard of 28th October 2018.