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Bernard-Henri Levy

Bernard-Henri Levy (born in Béni Saf, Algeria) is a French public intellectual, writer and journalist. He is often referred to simply as BHL. Lévy was one of the leaders of the “Nouvelle Philosophie” (New Philosophy) movement in 1976. In 1981, he published L’Id’ologie française (“The French Ideology”), arguably his most influential work.

“Superman and prophet: we have no equivalent in the US,” is how Vanity Fair described Levy. He was a founder of the Nouveaux Philosophes school, which comprised young intellectuals who were disenchanted with communist and socialist responses to the near-revolutionary changes in France of 1968. They challenged the (French) stereotype that an intellectual was necessarily left-wing. He has written 30 books so far. Lévy is co-founder of the antiracist group, SOS Racism. Most write-ups about him mention his flamboyant lifestyle (he wears white shirts unbuttoned almost to his navel), and his pretty wife, French actor Arielle Dombasle.

Levy has travelled to, and written about, many strife-torn areas. He covered the Bangladesh war in 1971. He was one of the first French intellectuals to call for intervention in Bosnia, and made the documentaries, Bosna! and A Day in the Death of Sarajevo. Lévy has undertaken many diplomatic missions for the French government. He headed a mission to Afghanistan in 2002 during the war against the Taliban, that Lévy supported. His book, War, Evil, and the End of History, took him to five “forgotten” war zones – Sri Lanka, Angola, Burundi, Colombia & Sudan. In 2007, he made a clandestine visit to Darfur, and reported on the ethnic cleansing and genocide.

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