Video: Novelist Ibrahim Al-Koni in Discussion with Syrian Poet Adonis

In August 2011, Libyan writer Ibrahim Al-Koni appeared on stage at the Louisiana Literature Festival in Denmark in discussion with Syrian poet Adonis. The writers spoke about the nature of revolution and their hopes for the futures of their native countries. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art has released a portion of the recorded talk online. In this particular section of the interview, briefly volley back and forth about NATO intervention in Libya’s 2011 revolution.

“I hope the Arabs themselves rise up and request the assistance of the world,” said Adonis, “But to invite NATO forces to occupy Libya or Tunisia? No!”

Al-Koni appeared ruffled by Adonis’ implication that Libya’s revolution was somehow compromised by Western intervention. He replied:

“What happened in Libya was not begging NATO for help. There was a spontaneous uprising by civilians, as Adonis wanted to clarify. It was in fact a spontaneous revolution by unarmed people, marching in protest and seeking their rights. The murderous regime killed these people on the streets. Therefore they were forced to attack the barracks and die by the thousands in order to take weapons from combat forces to defend themselves. The Arab League passed a plan to the Security Council to protect the people. The Security Council could not stand idly faced with a war of extermination. The great power were assigned to prevent genocide of this nation. France initiated in the early days as attempt to prevent a major massacre in Benghazi. Until then the world hesitated. No one intervened. The United States bombed the arsenals in Tripoli and in the desert which were being used by Gaddafi against the citizens. NATO till then was divided. Turkey, Russia, China, South Africa, and Italy, even India — were against interference at this point. But the developments showed them the truth. They realized if they did not act, an entire nation would be eliminated.

…Mr. Adonis has a right to critisize the West because in fact they had rehabilitated Gaddafi for the last 20 years enabling him to return strongly to practice terrorism in the world.

The two authors also discussed literature, Sufism, and politics. You can watch the excerpts here.

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