La Prisonniere: Twenty Years in a Desert Gaol

La Prisonniere: Twenty Years in a Desert Gaol
-by Malika Oufkir & Michele Fitoussi
392 pages (2000)

a captivating testimony of tribulation and hope

La Prisonniere is heart-rending true story about the loss of every human's right - freedom. Amidst much turmoil it is also a story of great courage and love that keeps a family going. Malika recounts her family's fate with much candor, and eloquent simplicity that captivates you immediately. The Oufkir's strong family ties saw them through some of the most inhumane treatment one can imagine. 

Born to a noble Berber family in the early 1950s, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of King Hassan II of Morocco's closest aide. At the tender age of five, young Oufkir was whisked away to another life (the royal court of Rabat) - adopted by the king himself - to serve as a companion to his youngest daughter. It is there that Oufkir grew up, locked away in her gilded cage, away from family and friends, among the royal wives and concubines. 

Her world suddenly changed in 1972, at the age of 18, when her father General Oufkir was swiftly arraigned and executed for an attempt to assassinate King Hassan II. The remainder of the Oufkirs - Malika, her mother and her 5 younger siblings - innocent of all charges, were nonetheless seized and thrown into an isolated desert jail. 

For 15 years, the Oufkirs suffered at the hands of their ruthless captors; no contact with the outside world, they lived in increasingly barbaric and inhumane environment. After a failed escape attempt - which resulted in their being recaptured after 5 days - the ensuing public outrage resulted in the family’s house arrest rather than a return to the prison. (Malika Oufkir was finally permitted to leave Morocco in 1996, to begin a new life in exile.)

Notwithstanding horrible conditions, the Oufkirs demonstrated resilience in the face of extreme deprivation. La Prisonniere is a somber read, due to its disheartening chronicle of man’s inhumanity to man - and yet it is a story that bolsters faith in the fact that love can help us endure, despite all odds.


No comments:

Post a Comment