We previously discussed the plight of a young teenage girl who fought for asylum rather than return to the medieval laws of Saudi Arabia where women must live without equal rights or opportunities. The case for asylum of woman from our “close ally” is strong given the violence meted out to women who seek to express their own views or pick their own future, let alone their own religion. The stark choice for women was tragically evident this week when a medical examiner confirmed that two young sisters chose to die together rather than return to Saudi Arabia. Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, reportedly wanted asylum but when their credit card ran out of money, they bound themselves together and threw themselves into the Hudson River, according to chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson as said in an official statement.
The two Saudi Arabian sisters moved here with their mother and two brothers and reportedly sought asylum.
They were found duct-taped in the river near Manhattan’s Upper West Side in October. They were facing each other and had no signs of trauma. It was later learned that the sisters ran away from home to try to avoid a return to Saudi Arabia. They ended up bouncing from a shelter and went to New York in fear that they would be forced back into a country of arranged marriages and systemic discrimination against women. So they checked into an expensive hotel and ran out their only credit card and then died together.
Their bodies were returned to Saudi Arabia.
Their deaths are a stark reminder of the dire plight of girls and women in Saudi Arabia. These girls had experienced a society that would allow them total freedom in choosing their careers, movement, and loved ones. I have said before that the women remaining in the Kingdom and still fighting for equal rights should be inspirations for everyone who believes equality and liberty are inalienable rights.
The thought of these two sisters making this dreadful decision on some bridge over the Hudson river is haunting.