September 3, 2013
Friday 25 May 2012
Bernard-Henri Lévy is calling for France and the West to intervene in Syria as his new documentary The Oath of Tobruk debuts at the Cannes Film Festival tonight.
“I made this film for Syria,” he told The Independent in an exclusive interview. “It is time for us to intervene. One of the targets of movie is to show what can be done in Syria. I know that it is possible to do, it is feasible and it is doable and it’s a shame that it is not done and this is why the movie is done, to show what can be done.“
According to Lévy the film shows why intervention worked in Libya and not Iraq and how the conditions are present in Syria. “In Iraq we had no international mandate, there was no demand on the ground of the people, there was no representative leader for the forces against Saddam Hussein, in Iraq it was Western versus Arab country in Libya there was a real coalition with Arab countries involved in coalition with Emirati and Qatar forces. Intervention is justified if you have these conditions.”
The documentary is a personal perspective of the uprising in Libya. It explains how he travelled to Libya as a journalist, meeting and getting involved with the rebels fighting against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, later making the telephone call to French president Nicolas Sarkozy asking him to take action. The film features interviews with Sarkozy, David Cameron and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Former French President Sarkozy went on TV in March last year to explain how it was a call from Lévy that set in motion his meeting with the rebels that kick-started French and British involvement in the war.
Lévy says “The film bears witness to what I saw, and what I was part of, I think that for an intellectual writer, there is a duty of transmission when you are part of something and you have information you are only one to have and you are part of something bigger, when you are a statesman you have duty of silence. When you are intellectual you have a duty to say.”
He also believes that it’s impossible to know if new French President Hollande will support his call. If not he believes that British Prime Minister David Cameron may now have to take on responsibility for a coalition of forces against Syria. “Cameron is probably the person to go to, but I don’t know him so well. I met him twice. The second time was for the interview for the film.”
Yet these meetings were enough to convince him of the British Prime Minister’s credentials of leading a Syrian campaign, “ I was impressed by Cameron, I was impressed by his energy, good will and good faith. In Libya, which is the situation what I saw here, he did show, like Sarkozy, a great quality of leadership.”