After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the voice of Bernard-Henri Lévy, France’s renowned public intellectual, became even more urgent and singular. Bernard-Henri Lévy joined FOLCS at 92Y for an important evening of discussion devoted to the current events in Europe and the effects they are having on citizens around the world. The conversation also touched on the refugee crisis in both the United States and Europe and the government’s response. What does all this mean for France as the birthplace of modern democracy, and what are the lessons we can learn here in the US?
A special thanks to the Ashner Family Evergreen Foundation for making this event possible.
Author & Philosopher
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher and one of the most esteemed and bestselling writers in Europe. He is the author of over 30 books, including works of philosophy, fiction, and biography. American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville was a New York Times bestseller (2006). Subsequent books in English are Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism (2008) and, with Michel Houellebecq, Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take on Each Other and the World (2011). A 2013 book, Les Aventures de la Vérité—Peinture et philosophie, explored the historical interplay of philosophy and art. The book was written as a companion to a successful exhibition curated by Lévy at the Fondation Maeght in Saint Paul de Vence (June 29–November 11, 2013). His last play, “Hotel Europe,” which premiered in Sarajevo on June 27, 2014, and in Paris on September 9, 2014, is a cry of alarm about the crisis facing the European project and the dream behind it. He will publish, in January 2016, a new essay : “Le genie du judaïsme”. He is a columnist for Le Point, El Pais, Corriere de la Sera, The WorldPost, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and others.
Lévy gained renown for his documentary film about the Bosnian conflict, Bosna! (1994). After starting his career as a war reporter for Combat — the legendary newspaper founded by Albert Camus during the Nazi occupation of France — Lévy founded the New Philosophers group. His 1977 book Barbarism with a Human Face launched an unprecedented controversy over the European left’s complicity with totalitarianism. Lévy’s cultural commentary, novels and journalism have continued to stir up such excitement that The Guardian noted he is “accorded the kind of adulation in France that most countries reserve for their rock stars.” Lévy has undertaken several diplomatic missions for the French government. He was appointed by French President Jacques Chirac to head a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in 2002 in the wake of the war against the Taliban, a war that Lévy supported. He has traveled to the world’s most troubled areas. He followed the trail of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan to research his book Who Killed Daniel Pearl? (2003). A subsequent book, War, Evil, and the End of History (2004), took him to the sites of what he calls the world’s forgotten wars, from Colombia to Sri Lanka, and from Burundi to Nuba Mountains. His reportage and commentary from Israel during the 2006 Lebanon war appeared to wide acclaim, in among others, the New York Times Magazine. And, after an extensive, clandestine visit to Darfur in 2007, he reported on the ethnic cleansing and genocide there for Le Monde and The Financial Times. His first-hand account of the fall of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya appeared in the form of a writer’s journal (La Guerre sans l’aimer, 2012) and a documentary film (The Oath of Tobruk, which debuted at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival).