The Dissident

Brian Fogel’s latest documentary is a fantastic and vital piece of journalism, albeit one whose potency is dulled slightly by questionable presentation decisions.

“The assassination of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on the 2nd of October 2018 remains one of the most frightening and shameful stories to come along on the world’s stage in recent years.  Here was a respected, influential, highly-public journalistic figure, one working in exile for a top American news outlet to cover and advocate for change in his homeland, abducted and brutally murdered on foreign soil by agents (allegedly) in service of the Saudi royal family… and the world’s other major powers mostly did nothing in response.  Even after full investigations by multiple governments who all conclusively determined that Khashoggi’s murder was ordered by top levels of the Saudi royal family, no meaningful lasting response was taken by those organisations with the power to do so.  The President of the United States went on TV and firmly stated that the business connections America had with Saudi Arabia, and specifically Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, outweighed any tyrannical human rights violations they may have enacted.

It’s also a story that threatens to overshadow Khashoggi’s work that occurred whilst he was alive, particularly since, whilst he may have been a public figure in the Middle East, not a whole lot of people either outside the Middle East or who don’t properly follow the goings on in that area of the world may know who Khashoggi actually was.  There’s always the risk that, in the push to get justice for his murder and expose the deeply-burrowed tendrils of the Saudi ruling family’s tyrannical reach, Khashoggi becomes reduced to a symbol of what happened to him in death rather than the important work he was doing in life, and the man behind that work.  Leave it to Oscar-winning documentarian Bryan Fogel, previous of Russian Olympics doping doc Icarus, to thread that needle with urgency and compassion.  The Dissident may not contain much new information for anyone who has been following the case after the 24-hour Western news cycle got bored and dropped it within two weeks or so, but never let it be said that there isn’t a real power in simply laying all the facts out concisely and clearly until the truth is undeniable.”

Full review exclusively on Soundsphere Magazine (link).

Callie Petch is their own damn woman!

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