After the Show with Stolen Lives author Malika Oufkir
Malika Oufkir: Nineteen.
Oprah: Nineteen. To be 19 and in prison and all of the years... Think what happens between the time that you're 19 and 40 years old—your development, what you know about yourself—that is what makes the difference between being able to come out and being able to survive and not because you don't, you didn't have a self there. Know this—they didn't have a newspaper. There were no books. There's no stimulation other than Malika's stories at night. And one of the things when I asked Malika the other day about would she ever be happy and she didn't know if she would—that's why I had her back 'cause I'm gonna make her happy. I was saying to her, "Perhaps maybe the happiness is already here." Because you know how she wanted to be on the stage? I said, "But look at what life did for you. You ended up being able to tell those stories, create your own script that ended up saving your brothers and sisters' lives which is far more dramatic than any play or any movie or any stage that you could ever have." But that's all they had. If you think you go 20 years and you don't see a newspaper... And you were telling us that that little beat-up transistor radio is what kept you all sane.
Malika Oufkir: And the day we lose this little radio, we lose our mind, you know. That's why we decided to escape and dug the tunnel because to realize that you are far from the reality—far from the world—it's impossible.
Oprah: Right. Your world then becomes that little, that prison which becomes your tomb...
Malika Oufkir: And you feel really abandoned at this moment...
Audience Question:... When your sister Soukaina was being inundated by all the guards asking, "How could they have dug... been physically able to escape?" And she miraculously comes up and says, "Fifteen years of personal humiliation... that's what gives me strength." And I just remember the earlier part of the story with her being so small, and so timid... You gave her that strength to stand up for what you all believed in. It's so marvelous.
Malika Oufkir: It's not me. It's because of her, it's because of this experience... this experience is terrible because you lose all your life, I think this is a great also experience. That's why I can say it makes you better and you understand a lot of things. This experience is very rich. Even though you lose a lot of things, we win very important things like humility, compassion, and tolerance. Material things mean nothing to us, only value, human value.
Audience Question: From the time you were released—you and your family—did you ever see or talk to the king again? And if not, if he was standing in front of you today, what would you want to say to him?
Oprah: Oh! Well, he's not gonna be standing here; he's dead. He died—he died two years ago.
Malika Oufkir: He died two years ago so very difficult to meet him again you know. But now it's his son who is king and I don't think I have something to tell to his son because for me he's not responsible of what's happenedà