I Was a French Muslim Buy from other retailers

Publication Date: Sep 21, 2021

452 pp


List Price US: $15.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-181-1


List Price US: $26.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-180-4

Trim Size: 0.00 x 0.00 x 0.00 in.

I Was a French Muslim

“Mokhtefi was able to reconstruct the sights and sounds of life in his village of Berrouaghia and the constant pressure he felt to be [a ‘French Muslim’]…moving.” —The Nation

“Mokhtar Mokhtefi’s autobiography holds an original position in the panorama of increasingly abundant memoirs of veterans of the war fought by the Algerian Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) against France between 1954 and 1962…For freedom of tone, irreverence, assumed subjectivity, as well as for the elegance of a swift and precise style, the work is also an anomaly.” —Journal of North African Studies

“Dashing and charismatic, Mokhtar Mokhtefi dedicated himself to the liberation of his country, French-occupied Algeria, only to become an exile in France, then in the US, because the post-independence government could not tolerate a man of his integrity and democratic principles. Instead of succumbing to bitterness, nostalgia, or vanity, the sanctuary of many political exiles, he remained faithful to the ideals of self-determination and freedom that had led him into the liberation struggle. And at the very end of his life, he wrote this powerful memoir of his revolutionary years, lyrical in its evocation of the Algerian independence movement, yet keenly aware of the tragic dimensions of that history. I Was a French Muslim—fluently translated by his widow, the writer, artist, and activist Elaine Klein Mokhtefi—is more than a chronicle of one man’s life; it is the story of a generation, a bildungsroman of the Algerian freedom struggle.” —Adam Shatz, contributing editor at the London Review of Books

“Mokhtar Mokhtefi and I met and became friends in the last year of his life. We spent hours discussing the manuscript of his memoir; it was his reason for being. He had two essential objectives: one was to remind today’s youth that under colonialism one was never a citizen but a ‘French Muslim,’ a subhuman being, treated as such. His second goal was to display how independent Algeria, as other former colonies, became the continuation of colonization, in the form of dictatorship. The colonialists departed but would be replaced by Algerians who in effect colonized fellow Algerians, and it is not over.” —Amara Lakhous, author of Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio