World News, Gender & Identity, Gender, Social Justice

We need to start talking about Dina Ali, because nobody else will

They seized Dina’s passport and, in effect, her freedom.

Do you know who Dina Ali is? She is the stranger my heart aches for. She is a sister I never knew, who is suffering and there is nothing I can do to help her.

Dina Ali Lasloom is a 24-year-old Saudi female who fled Saudi Arabia to seek asylum in Australia. Dina was abused by her own family members and in an attempt to find the peace she deserves, Dina booked a flight to Australia with a layover in the Philippines. As she waited anxiously to board her plane, security came and detained her.

They seized Dina’s passport and, in effect, her freedom.


At the airport, Dina met Meghan, who shared her encounter with Dina and the events of Dina’s day on Facebook. Her account was widely shared on Twitter. Here’s what Meghan told us.

Security ignored Dina’s cries for help as she explained that her uncles would kill her. While she was being detained, her uncles caught up with her. Dina’s uncles beat her, tied her up, and forcefully dragged her to a plane and back to the life she so desperately wanted to escape.

I wonder how those security guards could just stand by and watch a 5’2” woman get beaten by her uncles. I wonder how they sleep at night knowing that their inaction may lead to her death.

Dina arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 12th 2017.

Since her arrival, Dina has not been seen. Her future is precarious and uncertain. We do know passengers on the flight said they heard a woman screaming for help as the plane was about to land. We know that she is in the custody of her family, her abusers. Her family, who believes she has brought shame on their name.

What was Dina’s crime in the eyes of her family? The strength and courage she had when she asked for basic human rights. She asked to live a life away from her abusers and all the hurt. But because she lived in a country where having a vagina was crime enough, these basic human rights were taken away. Dina is not the first, not last women, in this country to suffer like this.

However, unlike many others, she was one of the few who fought for her freedom.

I am sorry, Dina.

I am sorry the media chose to ignore your story. I am sorry that all I have are my words and they aren’t enough to help you. I am sorry for being so helpless and not being able to help alleviate your pain. If I could, I’d take you to a free world; you and everyone else who suffers like you. But, I can’t, because I live in the same country you do.

I face the same crime of being a female.

My heart aches for you, Dina. For the sister, I never met. Dina, you are in my prayers and I hope that you are still alive.