After Afghanistan, America should not retreat from the world, says the famed French journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy, a person so well-known in France that everybody from taxi drivers to diplomats refers to him merely as “BHL.”
Like the equally named transport firm, BHL delivers. He offers audiences intimate portraits of Afghan warlords, Nigerian gunmen and tough-minded Iraqi monks in his new movie, The Will to See. Its U.S. premiere is Thursday on the French embassy in Washington, D.C., and Yale University Press printed his e book on Tuesday.
BHL noticed gaunt, haunted faces of Libyans nonetheless mourning their kin, mendacity in mass graves, Uyghur Muslims who’ve been displaced and dispossessed by Han Chinese communists, and the unhappy, resigned faces of hopeless Arab refugees on the Greek isle of Lesbos.
Nigeria might be the subsequent Rwanda, he stated, and a key check for the administration of Joe Biden. Rwanda, the positioning of a Nineteen Nineties genocide, was faulted as a significant failing in the course of the Clinton years and a “problem from hell” by former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. Today, Biden has put her answerable for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The U.S. and France solely woke as much as Rwanda “when the genocide was over,” BHL stated in Paris throughout an interview with Zenger. “In Nigeria — I’m very careful, but we have the seeds, the start of a possible genocide. But this time we can stop it.”
It’s not Hutu vs. Tutsi, he stated. It’s radicalized Muslims creating “daily bloodbaths of Christians in Nigeria, who are killed with the complicity of the army, just because they are Christians.”
The West can take a stand, stated BHL, and make commerce with Nigeria — the ten-figure sale of oil and fishes — conditional upon holding Christians secure from Twenty first-century pogroms. But will they?
“Probably not, but we have to try,” he stated. In his e book, he makes a case for staring into the stark realities and making onerous decisions which will value tens of billions in commerce in alternate for saving tens of hundreds of lives.
An identical alternative awaits the U.S. within the mountains of the Hindu Kush, the place the son of the legendary rebel chief Ahmad Shah Massoud instructions the stays of the anti-Taliban resistance.
“The word ‘surrender’ is not part of our vocabulary,” the youthful Massoud as soon as informed BHL, he stated.
Two days earlier than the September 11 assaults, al-Qaeda members posing as a European information crew killed the elder Massoud with a bomb hidden of their digital camera gear. Months earlier, Massoud had prophetically warned the European Parliament in Strasbourg that al-Qaeda can be a direct hazard to the West.
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan does not imply that the battle has ended, BHL stated, however solely that the victims will now be America’s former allies in “this deep night which has fallen upon Afghanistan, behind this iron curtain.”
From its independence after World War I, to the Soviet-inspired civil battle of the Seventies, Afghanistan was a largely peaceable monarchy that saved out of its neighbors’ wars and offered scholarships for ladies to attend faculty. Women did not cowl their faces and blended freely with males at bars and discos.
After many years of battle and Taliban rule, American intervention restored Afghanistan’s tolerant civil society, for a time. “Ladies began to walk freely in the streets. Burqas began to disappear. A free press started up and was founded,” stated BHL.
All traces of that liberal previous are vanishing quick. Gone is “the right for women not to be death-stoned,” stated BHL, for refusing to put on what he referred to as “a jail of tissue” on their faces.
“We did not fail. You Americans … did not fail. We won this war,” stated BHL. “There was a real democratic aspiration in Afghanistan, which we just encouraged, helped. We, just by our presence, we dissuaded the Taliban too, for years, ’til now. Until this dark day of August 15.”
What retains America’s State Department and the West’s considering and writing lessons from seeing the realities in Central Asia, West Africa and elsewhere, BHL stated, is that they refuse to see the facility of tribes and religions to trigger conflicts. They solely appear to know financial conflicts — who will get what — and might’t grasp that people will kill and die for non-material issues.
“If they recognize that, they have to act,” stated BHL. “And they don’t want to act.”
While diplomats, intellectuals and pundits are weary of abroad adventures, BHL believes hundreds of thousands of American Christians and Jews nonetheless see the necessity to use Western energy to avoid wasting overseas lives.
“America is not just another country. France is not just — I don’t know — Costa Rica,” he stated. “We are, you Americans plus little France, great countries with great values, with creeds. There are not so many countries who are based on a creed, you know.”
This story was offered to Newsweek by Zenger News.