Book review entries

January 29, 2005

La Prisonniere

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This book is an amazing account of how Malika Oufkir, daughter of General Oufkir who was shot for an attempted coup d'etat, was imprisoned with her family for 20 years. It's fascinating to see the changes that this family went through and how they adapted, going from an incredibly priviledged life to an almost beastail existence in inhumane jails.
It is aslo bizarre to read Malika's descriptions of the Moroccan royal family and ruling elites among whom she was raised, which seem trapped in a time warp. From her early chidhood Malika experienced a lifestyle utterly irreconcileable with the wild 1950's and 60's that Britain and the US were living through.
Most startlling were Malika's experiences when some of them managed to escape; Morocco had modernised along with the rest of the world and they had been almost completely forgotten. It leaves you questionning how many other people are imprisoned unjustly that we have no idea about.
This book also serves a good reminder that when we consider the past in one place it does mean that everywhere was like that, for while Britain was enjoying the swinging sixties Morocco's upper classes were stuck in an archaic system of concubines and deceit, where any dissenters were 'got rid of'.

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