hot controversy continues to rage, and I become lost in the
details. My initial fright had dimmed my memory of why I had
requested Jean Sasson to write my story in the first place.
Now, I stop listening to the accusations and force myself to
remember the drowning death of my friend Nada. I was a
teenager at the time, and religious authorities had discovered
my good friends Nada and Wafa in the company of men to whom
they were not wed nor related. Because both girls were still
virgins, they were not punished by the State for their crime
against morality; instead they were released to their fathers
for punishment. Wafa was wed to a man many years her senior.
Nada was drowned. Nada's own father called for the cruel
punishment, saying that the honor of his family name had been
ruined by the sexual misconduct of his youngest daughter. With
Nada's execution, he dubiously reclaimed the honor he had
thoughts then drifted to the crushing imprisonment of the best
friend of my sister Tahani. Sameera was a young woman whose
parents had died in an automobile accident. She fled to the
United States with her lover when she felt threatened by her
uncle, who had become her legal guardian at the death of her
parents. A great tragedy occurred when Sameera's uncle tricked
her into returning to Saudi Arabia. In a rage over her love
affair, he married his niece to a man not of her choice. When
it was discovered Sameera was no longer a virgin, she was
confined to the "woman's room," where she was still
locked away even as my own crisis unfolded.
before the book was published, I had realized that neither
tale seemed credible, unless the book's readers would con-
sider the barbarities that men inflict upon women. Yet,
something was telling me that those with genuine knowledge of
my land its customs and traditions would recognize the truth
of my words. Now, I wonder if Nada's and Sameera's tragic
lives have yet touched readers' hearts.
memory of my unfortunate friends and their sad fate renews my
mounting exasperation I think that those who desire freedom
must be willing to pay for it with their lives. The worst has
happened. I have been discovered. Now what?
was a pivotal moment. Feeling my strength return, I stand up
and face my foes. I feel the warrior's blood of my
grandfather, Abdul Aziz, surge through my body. From the time
I was a child, I have been most to be feared when I stand in