4 out of 4 stars
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A Dream for Peace shelves the detailed journey of Ghoulem Berrah, an Algerian revolutionary, who strives towards the decolonization of Algeria and world peace.
Berrah was born into a middle-class family in Aïn Beïda, a small town in northeastern Algeria. He enrolled in a French school where he experienced first-hand racism. This led to his first anti-colonial protest where he rejected an award because it was handed differently compared to his French counterpart. He earned a scholarship to pursue Medicine in Bordeaux, France. Here he met a group of like-minded individuals and officially started his anti-colonial movement by starting a nationalist party, supporting other parties with the same objective and campaigning. His acts of activism led to a series of events.
There was a warrant for his arrest causing him to flee to Morocco. He met Moroccans who played a bit role in the liberation of Algeria, in turn he attended to the local community and war casualties. He educated the locals on water conservation. He was accorded the duty of issuing certificates of abstinence to young Jewish girls on the eve of their weddings, despite being Muslim. He enrolled in law school to gain legal authorization to organize Algerian students in Morocco - securing scholarships for them. He also organized the transportation of weapons to aid the Algerian liberation. The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the struggle of Algeria. In the book your read more about his academic breakthroughs and diplomatic work. He brushed shoulders with the high and mighty, working closely with the president of Cote D'Ivoire as his special advisor. You get to learn about his role in the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestine Peace and as a messenger after Siad Barre, the president of Somalia, took the port of Berbera from the Russians. He led an extraordinary life.
What I loved most about the book was the author's narration of his love life. This doesn't weaken the plot, it enhances it. Throughout the story, we view Berrah as almost superhuman. Having accomplished so much, at such a young age and in such unfavorable conditions. He is a freedom fighter, a lecturer at Yale School of Medicine, an ambassador on peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, an interfaith leader, and much more. The description of his romantic encounters humanizes him. Most of the readers have not experienced the colonial oppression or life as a student of Medicine but I am sure they have felt what it is like to be in love. These accounts, therefore, make the author more relatable.
The author's use of images adds authenticity to the story. Images are timeless; unapologetically cementing their place in history as most welcome memories of rather faded experiences. They grab the readers' attention inspiring visual thinking. They help increase engagement and comprehension. However, some of the pictures are blurry due to the low-quality cameras used during those times.
Putting into consideration all of the above, I would rate this well-edited book 4 out of 4 stars. I would strongly recommend this book to lovers of African history.
A Dream For Peace
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