If I only could be free
Hi, I’m a Saudi woman. My father is dead and my Guardian is my uncle. Essentially a guardian is a keeper, that decides what I’m allowed to do. My uncle hates me, because I have no father. My uncle is constantly making fun of me. When ask him if I can go to visit a friend, he usually replies that I must ask my father. It hurts, all inside me.
My father, he was a good man. I didn’t choose for him to die. I did not choose for my uncle to be my guardian, but my uncle inherited me. I’m twenty-four years old. A grown woman. I can make my own decisions. I can decide what to do with the money of my own work. I had a ring that I got from my father. My uncle took it. It was the only memory I had from my father.
My uncle is going to marry me of to my cousin. That is kind of weird, but this kind of incest is tolerated here and I have no say in it. He is family and he is also a very bad man. If he gets to own me and be my guardian, I will have no freedom at all. He will lock me in and he may do what he pleases to me. I have to cook for him and i have to obey. He is threatening me and making fun of me. He said he would keep me in the basement. I know hes saying it to intimidate me. He won’t actually lock me in the cellar, but he could if he wanted to. No one would come to my rescue, this is legal here. I hate his grin when he says it. All the men are laughing.
Hes my my cousin and future husband. He plays pranks on me. It hurts. When I’m serving meals in family gatherings. He intentionally drops things on the floor and I have to pick them up. When I was little he used to hit me when no one was watching. When I cried the grown ups always took his side. I don’t wan’t to marry him. I don’t wan’t to live with him. Why should I ask of his permission to go to the store.
I have been dreaming of escape since I was 13 years old. That is 14 years… 14 years of feeling dead inside… 14 years of waiting… waiting for something better. Dreaming of a better life. I’m from a rich family, but no amount of wealth can make up for how trapped I feel. I wan’t to be like the people in the stories. I wan’t to write my own story, not have it written for me. I wan’t to spread the wings and fly my own destiny, but I am just a Saudi girl.
Today is the day I escape. I have applied for asylum in Australia. As I’m writing this, I have just arrived in Kuwait. I’m getting on the plane now. When this plane lands I will be a free woman. This plane lands in Philippines, where I will take my first breaths of freedom. In Philippine airport, Philippine law applies. I will have the same human rights as any other woman in the World. I will finally be free.
I watch the skies move slowly from the window. I’m leaving Saudi behind for good. It’s kind of a sad feeling, because I’m leaving a lot of friends behind. I will never see them again. But I also have had enough. I have to find my own way. Spread my own wings and fly into my own future. Under the plane there is only ocean I have officially left Saudi.
I see the Philippines in my window, I fasten my seat belt as the plane goes in for a landing. It is a successful landing and everyone claps. I gently find my hand luggage. The door opens and fresh air of freedom is mixed with the moist air from Saudi. People start walking of the plane. As I take my first step of freedom. I breathe out all the Saudi air I have in my lungs and inhale a lungful of freedom. It’s fresh it’s new.
Detained, mugged and trapped
I walk up the ramp and into the airport, where there is three crew members from the airport. -“Come with me.” One of them says. No I say, I don’t have to. They grab me by the arm and drag me. They don’t respect me when I say it’s not okay. Some Saudi people walk by without reacting, to them it’s all a familiar sight. This is normal where they come from.
A Canadian woman tries to find out what is going on. She looks concerned and she follow us. The men take me to a door that leads to a empty terminal. They unlock the door and we go inside. The Canadian woman walks in, they don’t stop her. The Philippine airport dependent asks me for my papers. I show them my papers and then they take them away from me. They also force me to give them my phone.
I don’t know what is going on. I’m anxious. Are they going to send me back? Don’t they know they will kill me? By trying to leave I have embarrassed them. In Saudi they belive in this weird thing called honor. Where a families reputation is based on actions of other people in those families. Blodlines are very important and honor exists in these. I know it does not make any sense to you. It sounds like something taken from movie, but in Saudi this is really important. So important they are willing to kill people to get this honor back or even just to prevent people from hurting the honor again. (Honor killings are not the norm in Saudi, just really bad treatment. But family members was quoted saying they would.)
The airport people will not tell me anything. The Canadian woman goes to find out what is going on. She manages to get some information. She lets me borrow her phone. She confesses what they told her. They told her to not tell me anything, she said. But a very important person had called and told them to hold her.
My uncle is a very influential man. He must have used his connections. He also owns a Cellphone company, perhaps he have tracked my phone to find out that I escaped. When I arrived in Philippines and turned on my phone, he must have gotten my location. While we where getting ready to leave the plane the crew must have been preparing to hold me against my will and steal my property. This is not fair. It is not right. They will kill me, I don’t wan’t to die.
Why are the the Philippine air attendances willing to help them kidnap me. The anxiety runs down my spine my heart is heavy. Me against the world, no help to get from anyone. I try to get out of the room. I need to hide. They won’t let me leave. They say my father is coming to get me. -“He is not my father I yell. They will kill me..” I scream they can do this to me.
They keep me for 13 hours. I get a hold of someones phone to tell people on the internet that where trying to help me what was going on. They are trying to save me from certain abuse and possibly death.
Two of my uncles have arrived. I’m so scared I’m about to pass out. They say I have to come or they will kill me. I don’t belive them. They have no right to force me on a plane anyways. I’m a 24 year old woman in Philippines I have rights. Then they grab me and try to bring me on a plane. I refuse. I scream, but nobody is helping me. I hold on to the railing. The flight attendances isn’t helping me. But people in the airport gets upset. They have to abort.
They take me back into the room. 5 police officers come. They will help me right? A flight attendance comes with three rolls of duck tape. They hold me down. They tape my mouth closed. I’m trying to resist. They tape my arms to my body and my feet together. I can’t move. Then they put me in a niqab. A Islamic cloth where only the eyes show. But they don’t let me see.
It’s all darkness, now they take me to the airplane. I try to scream, but all I manage to get out is some noises. My uncle tells the airport attendant at the gate that I’m on my period, he laughs. I hear someone say have a nice flight. I’m put in a seat. I’m trying to bite of the tape. My Uncles are making fun of me. -“She actually thinks she can escape” – “Yeah, her dead father would not like that.”, -“At least now we can have some fun when we get home.” -“, Uhahahhaha” -“Hey, Flight attendance, do you wan’t to go first.” -“Hahahah, sorry I have a wife man.” . The speakers: “Hi I’m your pilot, I’m sorry for the delay we had a runner today. The package is all secured aboard”
I get some of the tape of and scream help. A punch in my face. I’m all taped up I cannot do anything. I cannot see it coming. -“Shut up.” Another punch. -“That was just for my enjoyment”.
The plane takes a turn. Are they turning the plane around. Am I saved. Speakers: -“We are changing route and there will be some further delay.”. I hear a attendance tell my uncles that activists have talked to the state of Oman. And that they where denied airspace over Oman. There where also a bomb threat. -“You little piece of shit” They beat me. They are punching me over and over. I fall to the ground. They start kicking me. I hear the sound of a whistle everything turns white.
I’m currently in Saudi. Nobody have heard from me since. My last witnesses saw me leave the plane before everyone else. And that i was put in a van. I might be dead. I might be in one of those attention centers they lock up girls like me. Or maybe I am locked up at my guardians place. This is completely legal and no one will come for me.
I am Diana Ali.
(The only thing that is made up is the part of the circumstances before she left. They come from a similar case. And some of the dialogue is real from videos and some is invented. Witnesses say she was beaten and harassed, it’s hard to write that in a good way without making up some. If you know this person and or have further details, please leave a comment. Latest news, she is in a detention center.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dina_Ali The wiki page is updated. This story will be.