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Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail…

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail (1999)

by Malika Oufkir

Other authors: Michèle Fitoussi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
i don't know exactly why i didn't enjoy this. her life was so horrible. ( )
1 vote mahallett | Sep 7, 2016 |
Morocco's privilege to nothing — luxury when adopted daughter in Palace then whole family (father shot) to jail

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 privilege.
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  christinejoseph | Jul 19, 2016 |
Review: Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir. This is an amazing true story. I wasn’t to sure about the story at first because it started out slow but not to far into the book it captivated my interest and I couldn’t believe what this family went through for so many years. This is Malika’s story and she narrates from her point of view but after reading the book I thought Malika’s mother and five siblings were all treated horribly inhumanely. Their father, General Mohammed Oufkir attempted to murder King Hassan II of Morocco and was caught and executed and his family paid twenty years in a secluded prison for his crime. What makes the story fascinating was that Malika was adopted by King Hassan II when she was five to be a sister/companion to his daughter, Princess Lalla Mina. Once Malika turned eighteen her royal status no longer had any meaning with her birth father and he conspires to kill the King. Once this happened she returned to her birth mother and siblings. It wasn’t long before the King imprisoned Malika, her siblings and her mother as punishment for her father’s crime. Their imprisonment started out in a guarded house and after a short time they were moved to a secluded area in the desert and placed in isolated cells. As I read on I was amazed Malika was able to convey the hopelessness and hope, the physical changes, the emotional torments, the hunger and deprivation, fear and courage that they all endured during the twenty years in prison because it gives their story more power and allows for a glimpse into unimaginable existence. She was like a mother to her siblings by inventing games and telling fantasy stories throughout those years to encourage her family to stay alive. One day she finally came to the conclusion that they were all going to die so why not try to escape. It didn’t mater if they got caught because the way their health was they weren’t going to last much longer. With little strength she encouraged her family that they could get away. Even being watched closely they managed to work long and hard digging a tunnel with a spoon, a small iron bar and a cover to a can to gain freedom. Four of them managed to escape but became discouraged when they couldn’t get any one to help them and wherever they went they were looked on as suspicious. Malika was frustrated and felt escaping wasn’t getting them their freedom. Finally one day someone listened….Hassan II wasn’t looking good in the eyes of his people. He knew he had to take action and undo what he had done. So he imprisoned the family in another home under guard with plenty of food but no freedom….while he kept telling them they would be released soon….but soon didn’t come for another five years…. ( )
1 vote Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Compelling true-life events are told in a haphazard manner with no “story telling” ability. Although I was intellectually horrified at what this family was subjected to and amazed at their determination to survive, the story was told with such detachment that I consequently felt emotionally detached. I know it’s nonfiction but I expected to FEEL something and the cold, disjointed litany of facts left me wanting. Her descriptions of everything (from people, to events, to material aspects of her world) were often disconcertingly contradictory, sometimes within the same paragraph, so it was difficult to form a clear picture of reality (e.g., she loved living in the palace, she hated living in the palace; she loved the feeling of freedom while riding horses, she did anything she could to get out of riding horses, etc.). Maybe this duality is a consequence of coping with an entire life experience, one way or another, of imprisonment and oppression? ( )
  Sandra_Berglund | Apr 4, 2016 |
This memoir is written by the daughter of a General Oufkir, who was a high ranking Moroccan official. After her father attempted a coup against the Moroccan king, the author, her mother, her siblings, and family friends are all imprisoned for twenty years as retaliation. This book is an account of those twenty years.

I found the first half of this book to be extremely boring. I wasn't very interested in the author's life in the palace and it just seemed to drag on and on. It got a little better towards the end. The author suffered horrible things and I'm always amazed that people can persevere through such a horrible imprisonment.

My problem with this book was again the expectations I had going in. I have read a lot of memoirs, and I absolutely love learning about political and social situations of other countries as it is interwoven with a personal story. I really wanted there to be something more of the Moroccan political situation woven into the story. I realize the author was isolated during this time, and had no idea what was going on in the country, but I think that is where the co-author could have stepped it up and done a little more research into the political background. I guess that was just beyond the scope of the book, and maybe not what most people would want. It just seems like if you are going to write such a heart wrenching book, it would be valuable to slide a little more historical education into it. Oh well. I may have given this book three stars, but I'm trying to spread out my ratings and give more things one and two stars.

If anyone knows any good books about Morocco, let me know. ( )
1 vote klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Malika Oufkirprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fitoussi, Michèlesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, RosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ich widme dieses Buch den "Bibern".
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Für meine Tochter Lea, an die ich das ganze Buch über gedacht habe.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786886307, Paperback)

At the age of 5, Malika Oufkir, eldest daughter of General Oufkir, was adopted by King Muhammad V of Morocco and sent to live in the palace as part of the royal court. There she led a life of unimaginable privilege and luxury alongside the king's own daughter. King Hassan II ascended the throne following Muhammad V's death, and in 1972 General Oufkir was found guilty of treason after staging a coup against the new regime, and was summarily executed. Immediately afterward, Malika, her mother, and her five siblings were arrested and imprisoned, despite having no prior knowledge of the coup attempt.

They were first held in an abandoned fort, where they ate moderately well and were allowed to keep some of their fine clothing and books. Conditions steadily deteriorated, and the family was eventually transferred to a remote desert prison, where they suffered a decade of solitary confinement, torture, starvation, and the complete absence of sunlight. Oufkir's horrifying descriptions of the conditions are mesmerizing, particularly when contrasted with her earlier life in the royal court, and many graphic images will long haunt readers. Finally, teetering on the edge of madness and aware that they had been left to die, Oufkir and her siblings managed to tunnel out using their bare hands and teaspoons, only to be caught days later. Her account of their final flight to freedom makes for breathtaking reading. Stolen Lives is a remarkable book of unfathomable deprivation and the power of the human will to survive.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:19 -0400)

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Story of Malika Oufkir, political prisoner in Morocco.

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