Mona Eltahawy writes: Just over a week after Dina Ali Lasloom, a 24-year-old Saudi Arabian, was dragged onto a plane from Manila to Riyadh with her mouth taped shut and her arms and legs bound, the United Nations voted to appoint Saudi Arabia to a four-year term on its Commission on the Status of Women. So much for the status of this Saudi woman.
On April 10, the authorities at the Manila airport — her stopover in the Philippines between Kuwait, from where she’d escaped a forced marriage, and Australia, where she’d planned on applying for asylum — confiscated Ms. Lasloom’s passport and boarding pass to Sydney and held her at an airport hotel until her uncles arrived. When they did, they beat her and forcibly repatriated her.
Saudi feminists believe Ms. Lasloom is being held at a women’s prison. She certainly was not present when Ivanka Trump told a group of Saudi women she met on Sunday that Saudi Arabia has made “encouraging” progress in empowering women. The round table discussion was led by Princess Reema Bint Bandar al-Saud, the vice president of Women’s Affairs at the General Sports Authority, a largely moot title in a country where girls and women are not allowed to participate in sports.
In response, a Saudi woman called Ghada tweeted: “Ivanka Trump only met and saw some of chosen puppets who are from the royal or high class, and they don’t represent the majority of us!”
Saudi women must be accustomed to seeing women who are protected by wealth and proximity to power exercise rights that the majority of them are denied. Such is the bargain: Ms. Trump’s father, President Donald Trump, sealed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia during his visit to Riyadh. Meanwhile, the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates pledged to donate $100 million to a women’s fund proposed by Ms. Trump. During the election campaign, her father criticized the Clinton Foundation for accepting money from precisely those two countries, which he said “want women as slaves and to kill gays.” [Continue reading…]