May 16, 2007 archive

Stolen Lives – Book Review

Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.
-From The Bible, Psalm 79:8-

Malika Oufkir, in collaboration with Michele Fitoussi, writes a stunning memoir of her nearly 20 year imprisonment at the hands of the Moroccan King – Hassan II. In 1972, when Malika was only 17 years of age, her father – a man of high standing in the political world of the royalty – failed in his attempt to overthrow and assassinate King Hassan II. Malika’s father was executed for his crime, but the King was not satisfied with only that. Malika, her mother and her five siblings – the youngest of whom was only three years old – were arrested and imprisoned for the sins of their husband and father.

The cruelty of Hassan II is told in captivating detail. Malika and her family faced beatings, starvation and abysmal living conditions. They survived through sheer will, creativity, humor and the love they had for each other.  Oufkir relates their moments of desperation, hopelessness, and quest for freedom in language which is powerful in its simplicity.

I found myself more than once being grateful for the life I have been given, and the freedoms I often take for granted.

Stolen Lives is a memoir of despair, hope and ultimately triumph. It will stay with the reader long after the final page has been turned.


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