After the Show with Stolen Lives author Malika Oufkir
Malika Oufkir: Yes, because we were not used to walking you know and we lived during eight years without light and we had no notion of space. So the first time, you are hurt by the light—by the sun—and also you've lost it because you don't know where you go soà
Oprah: You were saying there was too much space so you couldn't get your balance, it's hard to stand... can you imagine?
Malika Oufkir: And for example, the first steps we had to walk, you know, it was really difficult. We need to hold the wall before because when you have to put your foot like this before you put on a step, you have you feel like—how can I say—everything is turning.
Audience Question: Malika, I was so touched by your story. My husband is from Morocco and I could really relate to your story. And my children just loved it. I have a question though. I would like to know about Halima and Achoura. Are they okay? The two other women who went with your family?
Malika Oufkir: Thank you for asking about them... Because they chose to live with us this experience and several times the guards came in and told them, "You have to go, to leave them, because they are going to spend their life in prison." And each time they refused to go. So they spend with us all these years.
And Halima, for example, when we were released, we told her you have to go and see your family because her father was very sick. And she spend with her family only three months and she came back. And I ask her, "Why?" And she told me, "It's impossible for me to live with them because I have nothing to tell them. And they are so different. And now my reason and my family is you." So she's living in Morocco with my brother, Raouf. But it's horrible to say that she has no change because she's sick and she has three times a cancer...
And for Achoura, who is the cousin of my mother, she escaped with Maria, my sister, in 1996 to Spain so she lives with her now in Paris. Thank you for asking the question.
Audience Question: Was there any one particular point where something inside you just died and wanted to give up... Where did you turn to in yourself to get the strength to go on, to live for the next day?
Malika Oufkir: I think without my family, I never can live or still be alive now... Because we were a family and because of the love we give each other, and also because of my mother. She learned us how to accept our life, our destiny, and to accept suffer like as we accepted to live in good conditions. So it helps. It was very hard because she's very strong woman but her education help us to go through this experience. And I think you, when you are a prisoner —and for so many years—you can really lose all your humanity, your dignity, and you are not a human person. After five years... eight years... you become like an animal. Because of her education she was always here to tell us, "You have to be good people, good persons with an education with dignity." And I think it's because of her and because of all love of all the family we are here now.