Of all the books by Bernard-Henri Lévy, his Le Siècle de Sartre (Grasset) enjoys the most resounding critical success. In commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the death of Jean-Paul Sartre, Bernard-Henri Lévy is invited by Le Groupe d’Études Sartriennes to present the opening address of the colloquium it organises for the occasion.
At the same time, he founds L’Institut d’Etudes Levinassiennes with Benny Lévy and Alain Finkielkraut. His mother dies on August 15, 2000.
Bernard-Henri Lévy publishes Les Damnés de la guerre [The Damned of War], a series of reports in Angola, Sri-Lanka, Burundi, Columbia and Sudan, which appears in Le Monde, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, and Madrid’s El Mundo. These five reports will be collected into a book entitled Réflexions sur la Guerre, le Mal et la fin de l’Histoire [Reflections on War, Evil, and the End of History], published in September 2001. The original texts are accompanied by notes, character portraits, confidences, reflections on war and literature, and autobiographical vignettes. The book is hailed as one of the great politically engaged books of the beginning of the 21st century. The events of September 11th confer an even greater timeliness to his reflections. In keeping with the commitment he had made during the war in Bosnia to support Serbia when it finally emerged from its totalitarian nightmare, he produces Goran Morkovic’s film Serbie année zero.
In February 2002, at the request of French President Jacques Chirac, the Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and the Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine, Bernard-Henri Lévy is sent to Afghanistan to study the possible French contributions to the reconstruction of the liberated country. Upon his return, Lévy presents his findings to the President and to the Prime Minister, later jointly published by La Documentation Française and Grasset.
In May, he is awarded the Prix Aujourd’hui for his book Réflexions sur la Guerre, le Mal et la fin de l’Histoire [Reflections on War, Evil, and the End of History]. Another prestigious honour is accorded him, this time in Israel: the Doctorat Honoris Causa from the University of Tel Aviv.
In September, with the support of the Fondation André Lévy – created in memory of his father – BHL founds and directs the French-language monthly Les Nouvelles de Kaboul. At the same time, under the auspices of the same Fondation André Lévy, he founds Radio Renaissance et Citoyenneté in cooperation with David Gakunzi, thereby striving to create the antithesis of the Hutu-led, anti-Tutsi, “hate media” Radio-Television Mille Collines. Also thanks to the Fondation André Lévy and under the direction of his friends at the time of the war in Bosnia, Susan et Samir Landzo, is born the Kids Festival of Sarajevo which undertakes to reconstruct, through its children, the Bosnian society which was torn apart by war, massacres, and vengefulness.
Pakistan, January 31, 2002: The American journalist Daniel Pearl is taken hostage and then decapitated by a group of Islamic fundamentalists closely linked to Al-Qaïda. Through the course of a year, traveling from Karachi to Kandahar, New Delhi, London, Washington, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, returning to Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Bernard-Henri Lévy retraces the steps of the martyred journalist. The results of this investigation are published under the title by Qui a tué Daniel Pearl ? by Grasset in May 2003, then in September by Melville House in a translation by James Mitchell as Who Killed Daniel Pearl? At the same time, Polity Press publishes his Siècle de Sartre in a translation by Andrew Brown titled Sartre, the Philosopher of the Twentieth Century.
Le Groupe d’Etudes Sartriennes and La Société internationale Simone de Beauvoir invite Bernard-Henri Lévy and Julia Kristeva to deliver the opening address of the « From Beauvoir to Sartre and from Sartre to Beauvoir » conference at the Sorbonne.
In 2003 Marc Villemain’s novel Monsieur Lévy is published by Editions Plon.
Réflexions sur la Guerre, le Mal et la fin de l’Histoire is published by Melville House under the title War, Evil and the End of History, translated by Charlotte Mandell. Grasset publishes a collection of his unpublished articles and essays on literature, philosophy, cinema, Bosnia and Israel, among other topics, under the title Récidives, Questions de principe IX. Jours de colère, Questions de principe VIII is published by Le Livre de Poche, presenting a collection of his weekly columns during 2001-2004.
At the request of Boston’s Atlantic Monthly, Bernard-Henri Lévy begins his U.S. travels in the footsteps of Alexis de Tocqueville, in July. And he produces, through Films du Lendemain, the filmed version of his American journey, which Michko Netchak directs with the assistance of Gilles Hertzog.
Beginning of the barrage of often very critical books devoted to Bernard-Henri Lévy’s work and life. While François Aubral et Xavier Delcourt had already brought out a Contre la nouvelle philosophie (Gallimard) in 1977 and Dominique Lecourt, a Les piètres penseurs (Flammarion) in 1999, Jade Lindgaard and Xavier de la Porte now open fire with Le B.A BA du BHL : Enquête sur le plus grand intellectuel français (La Découverte). There will quickly follow Philippe Cohen (BHL, une biographie, Fayard), Philippe Boggio, (Bernard-Henri Lévy: une vie, la Table ronde), Nicolas Beau et Olivier Toscer (Une imposture française, Les Arènes), Dominique-Emmanuel Blanchard (BHL, Bérénice et Frédéric B., Editions Le Bord de l’eau), Daniel Bensaïd ( BHL un nouveau théologien, Lignes), Richard Labévière ( BHL ou la règle du je, Le Temps des cerises).