I Was a French Muslim: Memories of an Algerian Freedom Fighter

Mokhtar Mokhtefi, trans. from the French by Elaine Mokhtefi. Other Press, $26.99 (452p) ISBN 978-1-635421-80-4
The life of the late Mokhtefi (1935–2015), a key figure in Algeria’s struggle for independence, is vividly depicted in this stunning translation by his wife, Elaine Mokhtefi (Algiers, Third World Capital). Mokhtar begins by painting a heartfelt portrait of his childhood growing up in a traditional Muslim family in a small Algerian village—lovingly recalling mundane yet touching moments, such as teaching his father what a “pajama” was. He relates how, before junior high, his precociousness enabled him to get into a French school, which positioned him to become a leader at a young age in the independence movement. At the age of 22, he enlisted in the National Liberation Army, and trained in Morocco as a signal corps operator, returning to Algeria to fight against “the many injustices... repression, [and] lack of freedom” wrought by the French. After the revolt eventually succeeded in 1962, Mokhtar became head of the Algerian national students’ association, where he frequently spoke out against the inequality that shaped his country. Ending on a particularly powerful note, he refers to a dispiriting encounter with an illiterate soldier that reminded him how “ignorance out of the barrel of a gun is preparing us for bitter tomorrows.” This multifaceted story inspires. Agent: Selma Hellal, Éditions Barzakh. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/23/2021
Release date: 09/21/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-63542-181-1
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