4 out of 4 stars
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In his memoir A Dream for Peace, A Memoir, we follow the life story of Dr. Ghoulem Berrah, born in 1938 in a small town in French colonised Algeria. Later, he travels to France to pursue studies in Medicine at the Bordeaux University, where he becomes involved in the struggle for Algeria’s liberation.
During this time, many African and Asian countries are starting to revolt against the colonial powers. With other fellow students in France, Ghoulem becomes the co-founder and one of the leaders of their anti-colonial and Civil rights association; it is amid this political turmoil that he meets his future wife.
His political journey has started. Being intelligent and well spoken, he is often invited in political spheres, as a spokesperson, to bring a deeper understanding of the Algerian struggle. He will meet eminent personalities such as Princess Lalla Aicha of Morocco and the members of the US Senate, Heads of States such as Mao Tse Tung and President Houphouet-Boigny and the list goes on.
His efforts in the fight for freedom will take him from France to Spain, where he spends time in prison, before being sent to a small town at the border between Algeria and Morocco where, he joins other freedom fighters in the struggle. While in Morocco, he is invited to do a presentation in communist China and soon after, he embarks for the United States of America where he becomes a scientist and a respected professor at Yale University.
The Independence of Algeria for which he fought for all these years, is proclaimed while he is in the United States. But did he really achieve what he wanted? What will be his new life mission? Is there a place for him as a member of the newly independent Algerian government? Does the new President share his views for the future of Algeria? How did he become part of the effort to bring peace between Palestine and Israel?
He believes that peace can be achieved in the World, and he embraces people from all walks of life, from all races and religions. This is true in his personal life as well, his second wife being Catholic while he is a fervent Muslim. As a couple, they went on to create an interfaith foundation.
Although the book is quite long, I enjoyed reading A Dream for Peace, A Memoir by Ghoulem Berrah. One of the aspects I liked, is the introductory text before each chapter – taken from the same - that gives you an insight of what is coming next and makes you want to read more. Furthermore, the book is structured in a way that each chapter of the book corresponds to a period of his life. There are real historical photographs and newspaper articles to support the events narrated in the book. The abbreviations and acronyms are explained immediately at the bottom of the page which, in my opinion, keeps the reading flowing compared to having them listed at the end of the book.
I wish the author has let us see his emotions while he was going through all of this and that he had written more about his two marriages. Even after finishing the book, we still don’t get to know him personally which makes it difficult sometimes to engage with the story. That is the only negative aspect I found while reading it. There are more than 600 pages, which can be seen by some readers as a negative aspect. However, do not despair at the thickness of the book; there is a lot of photographs and articles and some blank spaces that add to the volume.
The book is obviously professionally edited, and I could not find errors. In my opinion, there are more positive than negative aspects of this book and I will gladly rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
It is a fascinating and inspiring story, and I would recommend it to everyone who is interested in historical non-fiction, politics and revolutions.
A Dream For Peace
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