Shout out to Canada for being nice, again

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

It is a shame that I have not seen more attention surrounding this topic; maybe I have not looked in the right places or been on in the right parts of campus to hear talk about it.

But my hero for this week is Canada. You go, Canada.

Our friendly neighbor to the north has put its friendly friendliness on full display for the entire world to see once again.

Stereotype aside, the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and the rest of the Canadian government deserve a round of applause.

Freeland stood side-by-side with Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun Saturday at the Toronot Pearson International Airport to announce that Alqunun is now a Canadian citizen.

If you have not followed Alqunun’s journey, it is an inspiring one and one that deserved a happy ending for her.

The 18-year-old began her journey to asylum in Canada on Jan. 5.

Alqunun escaped from her home, where she was abused, and she made it to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by immigration police who denied her entry and seized her passport, according to the Associated Press.

She barricaded herself in an airport hotel room, and her social media campaign got enough attention and support that Thai officials admitted her temporarily under the protection of U.N. officials, who then granted her refugee status Wednesday.

Originally, Australia looked like it would be the country to admit Alqunun residency, but they were slow in their declaration that they would protect her, and Canada stepped right up as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada would accept her as a refugee Friday.

And Saturday, she made it to Canadian soil.

It is great to see someone find the success they wanted in their journey, especially since other women have tried to escape but were not able to, and there was a country willing to help her.

The fact that she was able to garner enough support to help her out of a sticky situation is also amazing.

One of the lesser-known but equally as inspiring parts of her journey was a small rally four women had in Australia.

As Australia started to consider helping Alqunun, in Sydney, Thursday, four women dressed in only jeans calling themselves the Secret Sisterhood protested outside the building housing the Saudi Consulate, calling on Australia to grant Alqunun residency.

The conclusion to her escape and the impacts she has had are amazing and inspiring.

It is great to see her find somewhere where she is happy to be, and that she inspired four women to protest in her favor.

And, as for Canada, props to it.

Trudeau had nothing to gain from granting her residency in his country, but there is now speculation that this action could hurt Saudi-Canadian diplomatic relationships.

Even in the face of possible hurt international relations (Saudi Arabia had already sold Canadian investments and ordered any of their students in Canada to leave in August because Canada’s Foreign Ministry tweeted support for women’s right activists who had been arrested), Canada took Alqunun in.

So, kudos to you, Canada.

And congratulations Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun.

Dillan Schorfheide is a junior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].