4 out of 4 stars
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A Dream For Peace by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah is a memoir that chronicles Dr. Berrah’s life as an exemplary diplomat, a brilliant advisor to President Houphouët-Boigny, the first scientist to come up with the hypothesis on the Reverse Transcriptase Enzyme, and an activist during the Algerian revolution. On top of all his remarkable accomplishments, Dr. Berrah was a passionate advocate for peace and tolerance for all religions.
The book scrutinizes Algeria’s colonial legacy, the tension between Israel and Palestine, and the power struggle between nations during the Cold War. It also features the religious beliefs and practices of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Jews. There are old photographs throughout the book that will further enrich one’s reading experience.
This memoir was heavy on politics and history, but the inclusion of the author’s sentiments prevented this book from becoming a tedious read. The author’s reflections are poignant and heartfelt, allowing his private affairs to stand out in this book. Consequently, it leaves an impact on the reader, despite the simplicity of the language.
I additionally like the educational aspect of the book. There were insights into various religions Dr. Berrah has come to learn and understand during his lifetime. For example, during his visit to a Buddhist friend, Dr. Berrah sees his friend’s wife patiently tending to her plants. Some of her orchids will take years to bloom, and she might never live long enough to see them flourish. She isn’t doing it for herself, though, but for somebody in the future who will benefit from the fruits of her labor. Dr. Berrah believes that this act is a sacrifice, a moral obligation similar to Islam and Christianity. In every encounter such as this, Dr. Berrah has something meaningful to pick up. As I reflected, I realized that it wasn’t mere curiosity that motivated Dr. Berrah to learn about all religions. It was his deep and profound desire to truly understand and find their common ground.
Dr. Berrah is a brilliant ambassador, a loving husband, a patriot, and a compassionate man who lives up to his faith. Apart from being educational, this memoir bears emotional resonance. Hence, my rating is 4 out of 4 stars. Dr. Berrah’s aspirations for a better world made me want to be more compassionate and hopeful. I can neither say anything I dislike nor find any errors. The editing quality is excellent.
I recommend this book to anyone with a keen interest in the perils of colonization, the intricacies of diplomacy, and the teachings of different religions. Due to its wealth of information, this book will be a great academic resource as well. However, this is less suitable for readers who are not inclined to read political or historical memoirs.
A Dream For Peace
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