Saturday, August 23, 2008
BHL bears witness posted by Richard Seymour
One of the most hilarious passages in Philippe Cohen's biography of Bernard-Henri Lévy is the description of BHL's attempts to refashion himself as a journalist. Amid the usual impostures and vanity, Lévy consistently gets the facts wrong, bungles his analysis, regurgitates propaganda, and then justifies it all on the basis that whatever the flaws in his reporting, it has helped to mobilise international communities in opposition to this or that atrocity. And despite his obvious moral fervour, he has never been one to waste too much time in the sticks. Thus, when he was campaigning for Izetbegovic and decided to make a documentary about Bosnia, Susan Sontag (who contributed a great deal to that campaign) suggested that he might well change his acronym to DHS - Deux Heures a Sarajevo, on account of his having spent a single afternoon there with his film crew before jetting back home on a French military plane. Well, here he is again, reporting direct from vital Gori! Behold the moving "testimony" on a shattered city and its beleaguered residents! Gasp as BHL witnesses scores of Russian tanks crawling menacingly toward Tbilisi! There is truly no hardship that BHL will not endure to get the real story. The trouble is, it is all fantasy: he spent two and a half days in Georgia, never got into Gori, and didn't see "at least a hundred" Russian tanks heading toward the Georgian capital. He did, however, eventually make it to Tbilisi - to the Marriot hotel in fact, where he loafed around, smoked endless fags, and chattered with his intellectual confrères. Surely at this point the normal procedure would be for the French government to appoint BHL as 'special envoy' to Georgia? It must happen - I demand it! The world demands it! Gori demands it!