EXCLUSIVE: Bernard-Henri Lévy remembers fallen Peshmerga

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy
author_image Ari Khalidi

MOUNT ZARTEK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy visited an Islamic State (IS) front line in Kurdistan on Wednesday and paid homage to a fallen Peshmerga Commander he had met in person last year.

At the Zartek Mountain front line looking over the IS-held territory and villages east of Mosul, Lévy told Kurdistan24 it was “very” moving for him to be where Peshmerga Brigadier General Maghdid Harki lost his life fighting Islamists last December.

The French intellectual met the Kurdish Commander while shooting his documentary film “Peshmerga” about the Kurdish women and men fighting IS in a 1,000 kilometers front line that separates Kurdistan from the IS Caliphate in Iraq.

Talking behind sandbags at a fortified Kurdistan Army base on the mountain top, the documentary film producer explained why he came back.

“When I met [Harki] here last year, he told me that all the barracks in the front line were more solid than his. This is the place he died,” Lévy said.

“He was a very brave Commander fighting IS till the last minute of his life. So, I wanted to come again as a sort of a pilgrimage to the place he lived those last minutes of life,” Lévy continued.

Lévy’s one-and-a-half hour documentary where Gen. Harki appears while fighting the enemy was shot between July and December 2015 and released in May 2016 in France.

Moreover, the documentary made its way to the Cannes Film Festival’s official selection.


During the interview, Lévy praised Kurdistan for values which he said were secular and were embodied in the equality of men and women in civil life as well as military ranks.

“I filmed the Peshmerga. I saw battalions of Kurdish women fighting [IS],” continued Lévy.

“IS tried to humiliate Kurdish women, raped them and sold them as slaves. Today they are taking revenge by taking up arms,” added Lévy.

The French philosopher was referring to the more than 5,000 Ezidi women who IS militants enslaved and sold as “spoils of war” after overrunning the town of Shingal in August 2014.


Editing by Ava Homa and Karzan Sulaivany