GENEVA, Switzerland – From the remote mountains of Algeria where he was born to Switzerland, where he lives today, Abdallah Nacereddine has spent his lifetime traveling and lived in many European countries, Asia and the U.S. His autobiography, To Be Oneself: The Tragicomedy of an Unfinished Life History (published by AuthorHouse), is sometimes sad, often funny, but always thought-provoking.
Written in two volumes, To Be Oneself begins with the fascinating story of Nacereddine’s childhood in a primitive society. Readers learn what it was like to grow up in his well-to-do religious family, the customs of the area and Nacereddine’s schooling experiences. Although he only spoke a regional dialect of Berber until he was 13 years old, he learned the Koran by heart in Arabic. He left home to attend French primary school in a nearby village and subsequently studied Arabic and Islamic jurisprudence in the city of Constantine. During his childhood, the Algerian War of Independence broke out. Nacereddine recounts how his family was involved in and affected by the Franco-Algerian conflict.
Although Nacereddine planned to continue his studies in Tunis, he was drafted into the Algerian National Liberation Army and found himself in a camp on the Tunisian-Algerian border. He describes the brutality of life in the camp, the end of the war and the situation in Algeria in its aftermath. Later, Nacereddine details his moves to Europe, Egypt and back to Europe, where he began to explore philosophy and publish his reflections on life.
Nacereddine then takes readers to the U.S., where he headed “seeking new horizons.” There he taught himself English by reading the Bible and experienced life in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Monterey, Calif. To Be Oneself provides an interesting portrayal of life in the U.S. Muslim community, as well as the author’s relations with Christian communities and his adoption into an American family.
But Nacereddine’s travels did not end there. He next embarked on travels throughout Asia, especially Japan, before finally settling in Switzerland, where he taught Arabic and even directed his own Institute for Arabic Language Teaching in Geneva, Lausanne, Bern and Zurich, while teaching at the United Nations Office in Geneva for more than 20 years. In retirement, Nacereddine extended his travels to Syria and Saudi Arabia and tells of his experience participating in the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Honest and eye-opening, To Be Oneself: The Tragicomedy of an Unfinished Life History offers penetrating insight into human nature throughout the world from both philosophical and psychological points of view.
In addition to To Be Oneself, Abdallah Nacereddine is the author of many textbooks for the teaching of Arabic and several other books, including Reflections and The East/the West/the Arabs: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (in Arabic) (both published by AuthorHouse).
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