A Semite: A Memoir of Algeria

A Semite: A Memoir of Algeria

Denis Guenoun


In this brilliant memoir, Denis Guénoun excavates his family's earlier and gradually fills out a portrait of an impressive, enigmatic father. René Guénoun used to be a instructor and a pioneer, and his mystery aid for Algerian independence was once only one of the various issues he didn't check with his teenaged son. To be Algerian, pro-independence, a French citizen, a Jew, and a Communist weren't, to René's brain, dissonant allegiances. He believed Jews and Arabs have been certain via an actual fraternity and will purely detect a unfastened destiny jointly.

René Guénoun known as himself a Semite, a be aware that he felt united Jewish and Arab worlds and most sensible mirrored a shared starting place. He additionally believed that Algerians had a similar political rights as Frenchmen. even though his Jewish kinfolk used to be rooted in Algeria, he inherited French citizenship and respected the foundations of the French Revolution. He taught technological know-how in a French lycée in Oran and belonged to the French Communist social gathering. His steadfast trust in liberty, equality, and fraternity led him into difficulty, together with legal and exile, but his disasters as an activist by no means shook his religion in a rational, beneficiant future.

René Guénoun used to be drafted to safeguard Vichy France's colonies within the heart East in the course of international warfare II. whilst, Vichy barred him and his spouse from instructing simply because they have been Jewish. while the British conquered Syria, he was once despatched domestic to Oran, and in 1943, after the Allies captured Algeria, he joined the unfastened French military and fought in Europe. After the struggle, either mom and dad did their most sensible to reconcile militant unionism and clandestine get together task with the calls for of labor and relations. The Guénouns had no interest in Israel and regarded themselves at domestic in Algeria; but simply because he supported Algerian independence, René Guénoun outraged his French acquaintances and used to be expelled from Algeria by means of the French paramilitary service provider Armée Secrète. He spent his ultimate years in Marseille. Gracefully weaving jointly younger stories with examine into his father's existence and instances, Denis Guénoun re-creates an Algerian prior that proved wonderful, intellectually provocative, and dangerous.

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