Ambassador’s Speech - “Bangladesh: From Despair to Hope” by Bernard-Henri Lévy - 13th March 2020
Dear Mr Bernard-Henri Lévy,
Dear Mr Mofidul Hoque,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here this afternoon at the Liberation War Museum. Standing with all its dignity and serenity, keeping its door wide open to tell people how the independent nation was born, this building is maybe one of the most meaningful for Bangladesh.
In that sense, I can’t think of a better place to welcome one of the dearest friends of the country, Mr Bernard-Henri Levy.
In France, he was one of the very first to answer André Malraux’s call when he was a philosophy student in Paris. In 1971, he left for Kolkata, he crossed the border with the Mukti Bahini, met Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and covered the war for the French newspaper Combat before being shortly associated with the first administration of Bangladesh. After his return to France, he published the one and only book in French about the Liberation War of Bangladesh, Les Indes Rouges.
Since then, he has become one of France’s leading intellectuals and honors us with his presence today. As a spokesman, he stood up for the oppressed and for the values he cherished. As an intellectual, he addressed fundamental issues such as the meaning of war and revolution. As an artist and author, he gave a thoughtful critique of our political, economic and social systems.
Just as Malraux, Bernard-Henri Lévy belongs to the history of Bangladesh and remains dear to the hearts of many Bangladeshis. This lecture is a great opportunity to understand what the country incarnates for him, and how a man who was born a hundred years ago, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, inspired him and an entire nation to gain its freedom.
I am really glad that a man who knows Bangladesh so well can take part in the birth centenary celebration of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bernard-Henri Lévy’s relationship with Bangladesh has a profound meaning, and such human connections are essential for our nations. Dialogues between cultures and civilizations are also built by individual destinies and singular experiences.
I want to thank Mr Mofidul Hoque and the Alliance Française for hosting this event, and I wish Bernard-Henri Lévy much success for his next project in Bangladesh, which will, I am sure, contribute to improve the knowledge and curiosity of many people about the country’s past, present and future.