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Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail (Oprah's Book Club)by Malika Oufkir
Synopses & Reviews
A gripping memoir that reads like a political thriller the story of Malika Oufkir's turbulent and remarkable life. Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco's closest aide. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the seclusion of the court harem, one of the most eligible heiresses in the kingdom, surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privelige.
Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was arrested and executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five younger brothers and sisters, and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After twenty years, the last ten of which they spent locked up in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to dig a tunnel with their bare hands and make an audacious escape. Recaptured after five days, Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996.
A heartrending account in the face of extreme deprivation and the courage with which one family faced its fate, Stolen Lives is an unforgettable story of one woman's journey to freedom.
"A gripping combination of fairy-tale, horror-story, and thriller." The Daily Telegraph
"The story of an extraordinary escape." Paris Match
"This is a remarkably candid chronicle of courage in which the strength of the human spirit, close to collapse, finally wins through." The Spectator
"Here is a true story that is almost beyond belief." The Daily Mail
"While accounts of the unjust arrest and torture of political prisoners are by now common, we expect such victims to come with a just cause. Here, Oufkir tells of the 20-year imprisonment of her upper-class Moroccan family following a 1972 coup attempt against King Hassan II by her father, a close military aide...Oufkir's experience does not fit easily into current perceptions of political prisoners victimized for their beliefs or actions. In fact, she was the adopted daughter of King Muhammad V, Hassan II's father, sent by her parents at age five to be raised in the court with the king's daughter as her companion and equal. Beyond horrifying images such as mice nibbling at a rich girl's face, this erstwhile princess's memoir will fascinate readers with its singular tale of two kindly fathers, political struggles in a strict monarchy and a family's survival of cruel, prolonged deprivation. " Publishers Weekly
"The ways that people hurt one another are always hard to fathom, and why they do so is another mystery. It is true that General Oufkir probably led the 1972 attempted coup and assassination of King Hassan of Morocco. However, Oufkir's wife and children, including Malika, found out about it only after his execution. Still, guilt by association condemned them, without a trial, to more than 20 years of imprisonment, including more than a decade of near starvation and torture....The question of why it happened is never really answered, but this is an extremely effective and graphic picture of what evil is like from the vantage point of its most innocent victims." Booklist
The adopted daughter of the king of Morocco, whose father was arrested and executed for a 1972 attempt to assassinate the king, tells the story of how she, her mother, and her five siblings endured years of imprisonment in a desert penal colony. Photos.
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