This piece is not about the mistreatment of women in Saudi Arabia or any other country in the world, it is about ordinary people and the media being led up the garden path in an orchestrated mass manipulation by a young woman and several others with large social media followings.
I don’t believe Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s story about how she became “detained” in the Miracle Lounge Hotel at Suvarnabhumi Airport in the early hours of January 6.
For starters, she wasn’t being “detained” at all.
She was free to move around the transit area of the airport but instead chose to lock and barricade herself away to add to her story and entice more and more people into to feeling sorry for her, in turn, bringing a bigger, brighter media spotlight on her “plight”.
A wet dream for the snowflakes of social media who champion the causes of others without taking 2 seconds to consider what they are being spoon fed is actually true or not.
And remember, all we have is her word that she was abused, threatened and mistreated, not to mention how she came to be trying to enter Thailand when she was only in transit heading to Australia or how she came to be without her passport.
According to the New York Times, Rahaf was “on the verge of being deported at the request of the Saudi government.” – really? Was she not in fact being sent back to Kuwait, her country of origin, because she had been denied entry into Thailand?
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun first appeared on my radar early Sunday morning when I spotted a tweet saying #Thailand was trending in Australia.
Out of curiosity I clicked around and found several tweets by Mona Eltahawy, a “Feminist // Radical” according to her verified Twitter account bio, who had over a quarter of a million followers at the time.
The tweets were translations of Rahaf’s being made from a brand new account @rahaf84427714.
Mona, a mouthy piece who openly tells anyone questioning or disagreeing with her to “shut the fuck up” or “fuck off”, was on the case within 37 minutes of Rahaf’s first tweet that claimed her family and officials from both the Saudi and Kuwaiti embassies were “chasing her”.
Chasing her where? She’d shown up at a Visa On Arrival counter at Suvarnabhumi Airport trying to enter Thailand where her application was denied on the grounds she had insufficient funds, no hotel reservation and no onward ticket.
Rahaf claimed several tweets later her passport had been taken from her by the Saudi embassy.
The 20-year-old, who later told us she was in fact only 18, had only been in transit at Suvarnabhumi Airport bound for Australia. Depending on which account of her ever-changing story you chose to believe.
CNN report al-Qunun arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Saturday after a flight from Kuwait, where she’d been with her family. She told CNN she originally intended to fly on to Australia but decided to enter Thailand instead.
She claimed to be in possession of a subclass 600 visa for Australia – obtained when and where?
According to a Tweet by immigration chief Surachate Hakparn, “She has no visa to enter both of Australia and Thailand and no ticket to Australia. That’s why she was refused while requesting to enter to Thailand”.
Is Big Joke part of the conspiracy? You know the one that Thailand is in cahoots with the Saudis to send her back to be killed.
Sophie McNeill, an Australian reporter with ABC’s 4corners current affairs program, claims she has seen Rahaf’s visa for Australia.
We’ve never been shown the visa if she ever had one. Oh, and her plane ticket to Australia… that was allegedly taken off her too. Was that not returned with her passport?
So who are we to believe? Rahaf, Mona, Surachate, Sophie, the NYT, CNN?
The story, in my opinion, is messy with intent. Tell a story over time drip feeding new details while at the same time slightly altering ones made previously.
Tell different reporters an ever so slightly different version of the story. Blame translations or cry foul when questioned on the facts or variants of the tale.
If indeed Miss Rahaf had a valid visa for Australia and planned to seek asylum there fearing for her safety then why did she attempt to enter Thailand? It doesn’t make sense.
In less than 48 hours since I first looked at Rahaf’s Twitter account, she has gone from 60 odd followers to over 80,000. Mona’s has jumped 30k or more in the same time period and there are literally hundreds of thousands of tweets with numerous hashtags such as #فتاه_تايلند, #SaveRahaf and #FreeRahaf.
I’m of the belief, the world has been led up the garden path here and Rahaf and co. knew exactly what they were doing and how easy it would be to fool the masses with the right sob story, timing and reach.
Now Rahaf is with a contingent from the UN and wants out of Thailand asap.
I wish her well and congratulate her for successfully making a mug out of the media and the masses to get what she wanted – neither deserve any less for believing all they read and hear from a single person with influencing friends and allies on social media happy to champion a cause for what in the end is their own benefit.