5. Her voice continued to echo in my ears, vibrating in my head, in the cell, in the prison, in the streets, in the whole world, shaking everything, spreading fear wherever it went, the fear of the truth which kills, the power of truth, as savage, and as simple, and as awesome as death, yet as simple and as gentle as a child that has not yet learnt to lie.

Nawal writes this after hearing Firdaus’s story and watching Firdaus be escorted to her execution. Nawal leaves Firdaus’s cell feeling light-headed. She gets in her car and begins to drive home, still hearing Firdaus’s voice and its undeniable truths echoing in her ears. She considers accelerating the car into people in the street, but does not. Firdaus’s story and personality have convinced Nawal that their society is a lie, and that the destruction of it wouldn’t be so bad. Nawal’s conversation with Firdaus seems to lift a veil from Nawal’s eyes. It is as if Nawal had spent her entire life believing in an illusion, and that simply speaking with Firdaus had made her realize that her whole life, and the lives of those around her, was based on lies. The simple facts of Firdaus’s life, and her apparent joy at her approaching death, reveals this.

Nawal also realizes at this point that Firdaus is not really in prison because authorities fear that she will kill again if released, but because they fear the truth that she now possesses. Because she dared to seize control of her own life and deny the power of those around her to control her, she threw into question a fundamental truth of their society. Women, and especially women like Firdaus, are not supposed to have the kind of freedom and power Firdaus aspired to have, nor are women supposed to fight back when men try to put them in their place, as the pimp tried to do. When she fights back, and later refuses to beg for mercy from the powerful men, Firdaus becomes incredibly threatening to them and to everyone else who works to ensure that the illusion of their power is sustained. Killing a pimp is not Firdaus’s real crime. Her true crime is in exposing the hypocrisy and powerlessness of the leaders and princes she so despises.