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Paperback Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail Book

ISBN: 0786886307

ISBN13: 9780786886302

Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Born into a proud Berber family in 1953, the eldest daughter of the King of Morocco's closest aide, Malika Oufkir was adopted at the age of five by King Muhammad V to be brought up as the companion of his daughter, Princes Amina. When he died, his son Hassan II became King and took charge of rearing the two girls as well as his own children. Malika spent eleven years living at the court, in the seclusion of the harem, until she left the palace, at...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


This is the most amazing book I have ever read. If you want to be inspired by the story of a strong woman, overcoming more than you could ever imagine, this is a book for you. It's not necessarily brilliant literature but it is the story of overcoming adversity that is truly breathtaking.

Testament to Courage

No matter what flaws it may have, this book is well worth reading. Published during the life of King Hassan II, who imprisoned the Oufkir family, the book itself is an act of courage and defiance. It is a story that the family was threatened not to tell, and France is geographically close to Morocco.To better understand the book, it helps to learn a bit about the history of modern Morocco (or to have been there) before reading. Michele Fitousi does not add background information to the Oufkirs' story. Differences between the Berbers (indigenous to the area) and the Arabs (7th century arrivals,most of the ruling class) are important. The role of General Oufkir (a Berber) in restoring Muhammed V to the throne after the successful overthrow of the French colonial government, and the general's disillusionment with the corruption and disregard for the common people shown by Muhammad V's son Hassan II make the attempted coup d'etat more understandable. Both also illumine the spectrum of public responses to the Oufkirs' tragedy. The troubled but close relationship between 20th century France and Morocco is also important.There is nothing to add to what others have said about Oufkir's profound journey into the core of the human soul. She has the perception to tell us all what she found.Reading this book, one understands how Hassan II earned the face his photographs show in the last years of his life.Bravo, Malika!

The Human Spirit is so strong.

You will not be able to put this book down. I was listening to Public Radio yesterday morning and Malika Oufkir was telling about what had happened to her and her family in Morocco. I went immediately to the bookstore and bought the book. 24 hours later I read the last page. It is fabulous and very thought provoking.Malika's story is told by a French writer who is brave enough to tell the world what is going on in Morocco. It makes me ask myself if we should be travelling to this country. If the family of a powerful general can suffer what this family suffered, what has happened to others there that we will never know? Malika's tragic circumstances both as a beloved captive in the royal palace and as a despised prisoner and the methods by which she and her family outwitted their captors demonstrate the enormity of human rights violations that are taking place in our world without our awareness of them. As we lead our rich and free lives in America, other parts of the world imprison political prisoners who will never be acknowledged as prisoners because of the secrecy of the methods of imprisoning and torturing them. We naively travel to these countries, unknowingly stepping onto soil that is dripping with blood flowing because of the despots who rule these countries.This family, because of its strength and resilience, has brought to our attention the current state of the world and the importance of associations like Amnesty International. It also makes us realize that organizations like the OSCE should broaden their vilgilance and monitor imprisonments so that political leaders are deterred from imprisoning, torturing, starving and killing their adversaries and their families. This book makes one appreciate the children, joys, sorrows, loves, successes, failures, education, homes....all of the things we take for granted. We must be careful that America never allows this to happen here. Even writing this review frightens me after reading what can happen to someone who angers the King of Morocco. Beware reader....but read this book! I'm not telling where I am in the world. But, we must be sure we never allow this thinking to grow in America.

Excellent book, still outlawed in Morocco

One of the first personal accounts by a an ex-prisoner of what Hassan II, King of Morocco, called his "secret garden"--a complex of horrendous prisons in which opponents of his regime disappeared and often died. This book forced Hassan II in July 1999 (two weeks before his death) to express, reluctantly but publicly, his "regrets" over the way the Oufkir family was treated during the 20 years of their imprisonment for no other reason than being the wife and children of General Mohammed Oufkir, Hassan's strong man who tried to oust him from power in 1972. A must read for anyone concerned about human rights in Morocco.

a lesson of hope

The book shows the injustice and abuse of human rights. A whole family was punished severely and imprisoned due to the acts of one person. After several years of terrible conditions, some members escape and are able to contact the press and let the world know their terrible predicament. The contrast between the author's comfortable upbringing and childhood in the king's palace, and the following period in prison are incredible. This is a more gripping tale of survival and enduring hardship than even, Shackleton. A must read.
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