The Will to See
Dispatches from a World of Misery and Hope
Publisher: Yale University Press
Translator: Steven B. Kennedy
Issue date: October 2021
An unflinching look at the most urgent humanitarian crises around the globe, from one of the world’s most daring philosopher-reporters. Over the past fifty years, renowned public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy has reported extensively on human rights abuses around the world. This new book follows the intrepid Lévy into eight international hotspots—in Nigeria; Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan; Ukraine; Somalia; Bangladesh; Lesbos, Greece; Libya; and Afghanistan—that have escaped global attention or active response.
In a deeply personal introduction, Lévy recounts the intellectual journey that led him to advocacy, arguing that a truly humanist philosophy must necessarily lead to action in defense of the most vulnerable. In the second section, he reports on the eight investigative trips he undertook just before or during the coronavirus pandemic, from the massacred Christian villages in Nigeria to a dangerously fragile Afghanistan on the eve of the Taliban talks, from an anti-Semitic ambush in Libya to the overrun refugee camp on the island of Lesbos. Part manifesto, part missives from the field, this new book is a stirring rebuke to indifference and an exhortation to level our gaze at those most hidden from us.
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