French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy met with the AAPA on April 6th. Levy, better known by his initials, BHL, strode casually into the Bloomberg conference room… dressed in his usual attire – a black suit and collarless white shirt. He was very relaxed throughout the meeting, or perhaps it was jetlag. He had just returned from New York that morning. Levy is quite the statesman these days. He recounted how he had introduced President Nicolas Sarkozy to the Libyan rebels based in Benghazi. Levy has played a key role in France’s support of the Libyan opposition. There were many questions about the nature of the opposition and whether it had links to Al Qaeda – Levy staunchly defended them and welcomed anyone to go to Benghazi to meet the rebel leadership.

He also spoke about the National Front under the new leadership of Marine Le Pen. BHL said nothing had changed with the national front and that people should not be duped.

Portraits of BHL in the French and American media often paint him as vain and self-interested. But we came away impressed. BHL came across as sincere, down to earth and very committed to his causes, like helping Libyans throw off Qaddafi. He was also forthcoming and answered all of our questions. And afterwards he stayed around to talk with people personally. It was a great opportunity to meet one of France’s most notable celebrities and public figures in a relaxed and personal setting.

-Eleanor BeardsleyBernard Henri Levy 019