The Prism: Every Side of the Story

Timeline: Secular Martyrs

These are people who died due to actions they took for what they saw as the greater good.

In the Media:

Jamal Khashoggi: Martyr of the Free Press

Jamal Khashoggi was born on October 13, 1958, in Saudi Arabia. In September 2017, he was forced to flee after he vocally criticized the Saudi regime. Khashoggi became a United States resident and started writing for The Washington Post. He was most critical of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. On October 2, 2018, Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul, Turkey to get documents he needed to marry his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. After not hearing from him for an extended period of time, Cengiz became worried and reported him missing. There was no CCTV in the consulate and no evidence of what happened to him, except a rumor that he was dismembered. On October 15, 2018, there was an investigation in the embassy by both Saudi and Turkish authorities. The Saudis came up with nothing, but during the Turkish investigation, the Turks reported “tampering” that they attributed to the Saudis, all but confirming that Khashoggi was murdered. The Saudi government claims that Khashoggi left the embassy alive and well, but retracted that statement 18 days later and said that Khashoggi was killed during a fist fight. The current theory is that he was strangled, stoned, or shot, then dismembered and dissolved in acid. Khashoggi was named one of The Guardians by Time in 2018, along with the Capital Gazette, Maria Ressa, and Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Jamal Khashoggi has been adopted as a symbol in the metaphorical “War on Truth” in America for fighting for the truth and freedom of the press, and has earned my unofficial title “Martyr of the Free Press.”

In Contemporary History:

Abraham Lincoln: Martyr of the United States of America

Very few figures in American history need no introduction. Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States of America, is one of them. Born in Hodgenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809, President Lincoln was one of the faces of America. Lincoln served as a representative in both the Illinois and Federal Houses of Representatives before his terms as president. Lincoln is typically portrayed as an anti-slavery activist, decades before his time, but his real stance is more complicated. It is not obvious where he stands on slavery half the time. In response to the Dred Scott v. Sandford case wrote: "The authors of the Declaration of Independence never intended 'to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity,’ but they 'did consider all men created equal-equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'” (A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming Civil War). The titular “Civil War” came during Lincoln’s election. Lincoln initially sued for peace with the South, but when negotiations turned sour, war became inevitable. During the war, he used texts like The Proclamation for Amnesty and Reconstruction and The Emancipation Proclamation to help free American slaves and modernize the south through Reconstruction. After the war ended, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth because of Lincoln’s slavery policies and victory over the South. Before, during, and after the Civil War, Lincoln was accepted in America as a symbol of abolition and freedom, and in modern America has earned my unofficial title “Martyr of the United States of America.”

In History:

Hypatia of Alexandria: Martyr of Science, Mathematics, and Philosophy

Hypatia of Alexandria was born in Alexandria somewhere between 350 and 370 C.E. She was the first known female philosopher, scientist, and mathematician. She was a pagan in a time of mounting religious tensions. Christianity was slowly becoming more and more popular in her part of the formerly Roman, now Byzantine, Empire. However, Hypatia was steadfast in practicing and teaching her philosophy, science, and math under the oppressive rule of Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria. Hypatia’s unconventional ideas scared the ruling class, and Hypatia’s death date was set. On March 8, 415 C.E., Hypatia was pulled out of her carriage by Christian terrorists, stripped naked, and dragged through the streets. She (according to some accounts) was dismembered and flayed alive with oyster shells before being stoned and cremated. Her cruel death, however, would lead to her immortalization in the history of science and philosophy. “The skeptical enlightenment saw Hypatia as the embodiment of free thinking and scientific inquiry. … Philosophers and scientists claimed her as the last representative of science and free inquiry before the long medieval ‘decline’” (The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, page 50, Hypatia). Hypatia influenced the great minds of the Enlightenment through her free thinking and questioning, earning my unofficial title “Martyr of Science, Mathematics, and Philosophy.”


The PRISM Press

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