4 out of 4 stars
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Dr. Ghoulem Berrah has accomplished a lot of things that can only be admired. His memoir is so full of information that I had to take my time to read in order to digest all the information.
The memoir, A Dream For Peace is about Dr. Ghoulem Berrah, an Algerian by birth and an Ivorian and American by naturalization. Dr. Berrah grew up in Algeria, where he schooled till he went to Paris to pursue a career in medicine. At the time, Algeria was being colonized by France. His passion to see his country independent led him to join and form groups that were fighting for independence. He became a key member in these groups playing major roles in such groups. Due to a bold strike the international students undertook, he cut off his education only to pursue it later at Indiana University. After his Indiana education, he accepted an offer and became a lecturer at Yale University. Not long after that he was introduced to President Felix Houphouët-Boigny, the then president of Cote D'Ivoire who later invited him to come help in developing Africa. Upon the invitation of Dr. Berrah by President Boigny to come serve Africa, he resigned from lecturing and moved to Cote D'Ivoire where he believed his services were more needed. Dr. Berrah became the right hand man of President Houphouët-Boigny running errands and representing him in major meetings across the globe.These two played major roles in the fight for peace between some countries such as Israel and Palestine, France and Somalia, using dialogue between parties as the major tool of negotiation.
Infact I loved everything about this book. There was nothing I did not like about the book. I love how his childhood was described. I particularly was touched by the relationship between him and his mother. His mother, although uneducated was able to inculcate in her children the desire to achieve higher heights. I loved the fact that he included pictures and graphics that showed his experiences. I admire his perseverance to marry his wife, Titi irrespective of all the family drama. Dr Berrah was a strong believer in unity among the different religions. He believed that irrespective of ones religion, there can be peace and harmony if each religious body learn to tolerate the other. As a Muslim, he married a Christian and lived happily with her for over 25 years.
Dr. Berrah is a character to be admired. He was humble enough to submit to authority. He was not greedy to accumulate wealth as some African politicians were doing at that time, but instead he took only what was given him and rather sought the well-being of the citizenry. His selfless nature caused him to ignore accusers and always moved to do what was right. I cannot agree more to what he stated of himself in the epilogue: " The attributes that define me are faith, honour, duty, love, justice, peace and dialogue. These are characteristics that move mountains." And indeed he was able to move mountains. If we had more people like Dr. Berrah in Africa, the continent would have been a better place.
The book was well written and the scenes well-explained and easy to follow. Each chapter had a heading highlighting the content of the chapter and glossary making it easy to navigate through. I found a few countable errors in the book, making it seem professionally edited. I cannot but to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Aside the reasons stated above, I loved how there were cultural depictions of the various tribes in Cote D'Ivoire. I also got to know a little about the pioneers of my country, Ghana's independence and some past African leaders i have not heard of before.
Although the book contains some scenes of violence, they were not explained in gory details. There were no sex scenes in the book. I therefore recommend this book to lovers of history, especially African history, and those who can stand a little form of violence. This book can also be a great resource tool for history students in higher education.
A Dream For Peace
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