French philosopher hails rebel victory in Tripoli
The French philosopher who championed Libya's revolution and helped convince President Nicolas Sarkozy to back the rebels travelled to Tripoli on Thursday to bear witness to Moamer Kadhafi's defeat.
"I was in Tripoli two hours ago," intellectual and activist Bernard-Henri Levy told AFP by satellite telephone from the Libyan city of Misrata. "I went to Tripoli by the road from Misrata, the road is open."
"I was with the column of fighters from Misrata, with the frontline unit from Desnia under Colonel Hashem, who is the colonel that I took to meet Nicolas Sarkozy on July 20," Levy said.
"I found a population that saluted its liberators unanimously, and I was able to travel around the city and the Green Square without problems," Levy said, referring to an iconic site where Kadhafi once rallied supporters.
The writer and philosopher, who is so well known in France he is often referred to simply by the initials "BHL", admitted that he had heard gunfire in Tripoli, but insisted the mood was one of optimism.
Levy has been credited with helping to convince Sarkozy to throw France's weight behind Libya's rebel National Transitional Council (NTC), which is now trying to form a new government after its fighters ousted Kadhafi.
He has made several trips to the country since fighting erupted in March, and in July introduced Sarkozy directly to three frontline rebel commanders, including Colonel Ahmed Hashem from the then besieged enclave of Misrata.
Fighters from Misrata have now broken out of their pocket and stormed into Tripoli alongside other rebel forces. They are battling the remaining regime loyalists and hunting for the fugitive strongman.
© 2011 AFP