Bernard Henri Levy: The Benghazi of today is Homs

Bernard Henri Levy: The Benghazi of today is Homs
By Euronews
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The French writer and philosopher Bernard Henri Levy is in Cannes to present his documentary on the war in Libya: “The Oath of Tobruk”. He talks to euronews about his involvement with the opposition and the negotiations that preceded the international military intervention.

According to him, the successful intervention in Libya can serve as a blueprint to end the troubles in Syria.

Wolfgang Spindler, euronews:
Hello Mr. Levy you’ve come to Cannes to present your documentary showing your role in the Libyan revolution. Can we say then, that you are a superhero, who has changed the situation in Libya, that you’re really the superhero of the revolution?

Bernard Henri Levy:
No, I’m not a superhero! In the film I try to relate very closely, and very modestly to what I was involved in, on the war for liberation. It’s not a history of Libya in general, there are plenty of documentaries on Libya. This one, stands by the story of what I experienced, what I witnessed and became a part of.

euronews: You’re Jewish, has this had an influence over your political involvement?

Bernard Henri Levy:
I am a man made up of several influences. The influences that have shaped me, are; the great philosophers, General de Gaulle and his appeal on June 18th, the image of Winston Churchill, that I have admired since I was a child and then there’s what I discovered later on: Jewish humanism and Jewish universalism. Altogether these things make up my humanity, my will, my revolt against injustice and my revolt against the intolerable. It all goes together. The fact that I am Jewish is not the issue. At any rate, let’s say I am a Jew who has always thought it his duty to reach out to other branches of the descendants of Abraham, like the Arab or Muslim people? I’m rather honoured to stand up for their cause.

euronews: Mr. Levy you were a big political influence in the decision for France to launch a military intervention in Libya – if you look at how things have evolved, do you think a military intervention was the right decision?

Bernard Henri Levy:
Well, of course, military intervention was necessary. In my film you can see that tanks were in Benghazi, Gaddafi’s tanks were in Benghazi. Whatever happens, whatever the risks that have come after the intervention, the intervention was right. It stopped a massacre and that was right. I have only one regret today and that is not being able to do what I did in Benghazi, because nobody is doing it for Homs, for Daraa the massacred, Syrian cities. The Benghazi of today is Homs.

euronews: So, can we expected a superhero in a white shirt, to solve the conflict in Syria? You have Francois Hollande’s mobile number, do you want to use one of these boats to get there?

Bernard Henri Levy:
What can be expected… I repeat, I launched an appeal. There are images of the village of Houla circulating on the internet. These images, you have to see them. More than a hundred victims – children tortured, killed in appalling conditions, our leaders should see these images, then they can decide. I’ve seen these them, they were horrifying, I was in tears. I wish the Russian Ambassador of the United Nations Security Council and the Chinese Ambassador; who has also regularly, since the beginning of this case, blocked all the resolutions; I want them to see these images, that is what I can do today, tomorrow we will see, today I want them to see these images .

euronews: You have insisted the Libyans take up arms to defend their cause – would you be willing to take up arms and kill for your cause?

Bernard Henri Levy:
Wait. First, I have never encouraged anyone and the Libyans haven’t expected anyone to take up arms. They took up arms and have documented their war. It should not get confused. I’ve never held a weapon in my life and I’d never have to do what they’ve had to. You know, the subtitle of this film could be “war without loving it”. The people I admire are the people who go through war without loving it. Here, war is a horror, a love of war is obscene.

euronews: Mr. Levy, the revolution in Libya is over, what do think Libya’s political future will be?

Bernard Henri Levy:
As in all democracies, and democracies in motion, there is a good political battle in Libya today, and my Libyan friends who are here today have demonstrated there is a political battle between supporters of democracy and those who do not believe in it. Between supporters of moderate Islam and supporters of a less moderate Islam. Between those who think that women should be invisible and people who think that women’s faces should grace the world and that companies have more of a feeling of freedom when you have women working. There is a political battle; in Libya today, and in this political battle I don’t know, I can’t tell you who will win. I hope you can guess but I am unable to make a prediction, I can still tell you that as far as I know, the Democrats, that is to say, those adapting in the land of Islam, those who are trying to make themselves compatible with the great traditions of the Muslim world, the cardinal principles of democracy, well I think they are on a roll. What strikes me about the movement in Libya, and for all I know in Syria, from the insurgents, is the speed with which the learning of democracy takes place. These are people who have come out of 40 years of hype, dictatorship, propaganda, a state of stupidity, and their democratic reflexes have come immediately.

euronews: The Arab Spring has changed a lot around the Mediterranean basin, is this a stabilising factor or a destabilising one?

Bernard Henri Levy:
It’s more stabilising, because the greatest destabilising force in the region was the dictatorships, Gaddafi was, as is Bashar al-Assad … so this form of destabilising is seen less, it was silent, then it became overwhelming with the Lockerby bombing, and the financing of Hezbollah. We have become the spearhead – as is the case in Syria, Bashar al-Assad, of Iran in the region … but we should not be mistaken for enemy. Nothing can be more unstable than a world ruled by dictatorships. First, the dictatorships fell, this is not a destabilising factor and secondly, they have been destabilised in the way the operate.

euronews: Bernard Henri Levy, thank you for answering our questions.

Bernard Henri Levy: Thank you.

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