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Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco's closest aide. Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the court harem, surrounded by luxury and privilege. In 1972, her father was executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five brothers and sisters, and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After twenty years, the Oufkir children managed to dig a tunnel with their bare hands and make an audacious escape. Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996. Stolen Lives is an unforgettable story of one woman's journey to freedom.
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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.
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