Memoirs of a Mujahed: Algeria's Struggle for Freedom, 1945-1962 by Hamou Amirouche
Hamou Amirouche's book is a must read for anyone who has a question about Algeria, its war of independence from France, and its struggle against religious fundamentalism in the 1990s. Although I bought the French version of book a few years back, I never found time to read it. Maybe it was written that I would read the English version instead. So I am currently reading the English version, which I bought from Amazon.com (where else?) and have decided to pour my findings here. First I must compliment the author for taking time and effort to record his souvenirs, his analyses, and his family's history. This book, despite a very few shortcomings that I will mention later, offers a window on one family's dilemma about joining the struggle for Algeria’s independence. We witnessed the author’s father being tortured in front of his family. I, like Hamou, was born in Kabylia, but I have no recollection of the war for independence because I was only three years old when the revolution started. However, I found his description of the peasant society near the Atlas Mountains very accurate and I, like Hamou too, had my share of collecting olives and catching birds for proteins. I also witnessed my mother's juggling of household chores such as fetching water from the fountain and gathering wood from the near-by forest. One thing I did not know was that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was giving hand to France's occupation of Algeria. Maybe it is because I have not that many things about Algeria's war for Independence or that's something NATO is not proud of and does not brag about. The author continued to stress that the goal of the war was the independence of Algeria because of France's stubborn and continued of repression of the legitimate demands for equal rights and dignity by the Algerians. It was not the creation of a religious state, which a few people claim today. (More to come as I am continuing to read it…).