Back in Libya, nine years after the uprising that put an end to the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, Bernard-Henry Lévy (BHL) raised a lively controversy within the pro-Sarraj clan, the leader of the ill-named “Government of National Accord”, which the author of « La barbarie à visage humain » nevertheless came to support, in particular through a report on mass graves attributed to the forces of Marshal Haftar in Tarhouna, a city taken over by the pro-Sarraj forces last June.
BHL’s plane landed on Saturday 25 July at Misrata airport (200 km east of Tripoli). Videos broadcast on social networks showed the “philosopher” talking with political and military dignitaries in this port city, which had awarded him the title of “honorary citizen” in 2011, in the wake of the “17 February revolution”.
BHL’s visit would then extend to the nearby towns of al-Khoms and Tarhouna. However, on local social networks, the main militias controlling the region protested against this visit. And at the entrance to Tarhouna, Islamist militiamen belonging to al-Qowa al-Mushtaraka and Saraya Shouhada al-Naâdji intercepted the BHL convoy. Video footage released by local militias shows armed men firing shots in the direction of what is supposed to be the BHL convoy, shouting “no to the Jews”.
In another video, a militiaman shouts, “Allah Akbar, no Jews in Tarhouna, no Jews in Tarhouna, death to you. Bernard Levy is not welcome in Tarhouna. Tarhouna is the land of Idriss. By Allah we will never accept it. He is à Jewish dog!”
Other videos show BHL’s alleged convoy on a highway, claiming that he was chased out of Tarhouna and fled in the direction of al-Khoms. However, in a tweet, BHL claims, with photos, that he did indeed go to the Tarhouna mass graves and that his report will soon be published. According to his version, “thugs” “tried to block [his] convoy on its way back to Misrata”!
Far from condemning the infamous anti-Semitic slogans chanted by its own militias, the “Government of National Accord” was instead quick to wash its hands of BHL’s visit, stating in a press release that “the government council has no connection with this visit”, that it “has not been informed” and that “it did not take place in coordination with him”.
As for the Minister of the Interior of the “Government of National Accord”, Fathi Bachagha, who authorized the landing of BHL’s plane at Misrata airport and granted it a protection force, he justified, in a tweet, the authorization of this visit in the name of… freedom of the press!
According to him, it was “a visit by a leading journalist (BHL), which took place without an official invitation from the government and therefore has no political significance”. And the brave minister added that “freedom of the press and media is one of the pillars of the democratic civilized state. And the right to oppose any visit is guaranteed to all, because we do not exercise any control over public opinion.
As a valiant defender of human rights, BHL will no doubt be keen to explain to his ministerial friend (and to the Islamic-revolutionary government to which he belongs) that anti-Semitic insults are absolutely not part of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by a “civilized democratic state”!