Responses to l’Affaire Strauss-Kahn

May 17

Fakt – Poland:

“A chamber maid has brought charges of sexual assault against Strauss-Kahn. A run-of-the-mill chamber maid. For the U.S. justice system, however, it makes no difference who’s the victim or what status the accused may have. Everyone is arrested with the same rigour….

“Now let’s think back to the situation with Roman Polanski and the reactions of the Polish ‘authorities’ as well as several politicians. They were all used to thinking in very different categories: his VIP status should relieve him of his responsibility. That’s not how it is in the States. To that extent, we’re a banana republic.”

Headline in The Economist:

No he Kahn’t.

Bernard-Henri Lévi in The Daily Beast

“I do not know – but, on the other hand, it would be nice to know, and without delay – how a chambermaid could have walked in alone, contrary to the habitual practice of most of New York’s grand hotels of sending a ‘cleaning brigade’ of two people, into the room of one of the most closely watched figures on the planet.

“And I do not want to enter into considerations of dime-store psychology that claims to penetrate the mind of the subject, observing, for example, that the number of the room (2806) corresponds to the date of the opening of the Socialist Party primaries in France (06.28), in which he is the uncontested favorite, thereby concluding that this is all a Freudian slip, a subconsciously deliberate mistake, and blah blah blah….

“What I do know is that nothing in the world can justify a man being thus thrown to the dogs.

“What I know is that nothing, no suspicion whatever (for let’s remind ourselves that, as I write these lines, we are dealing only with suspicions!), permits the entire world to revel in the spectacle, this morning, of this handcuffed figure, his features blurred by 30 hours of detention and questioning, but still proud.

“What I know as well is that nothing, no earthly law, should also allow another woman, his wife, admirable in her love and courage, to be exposed to the slime of a public opinion drunk on salacious gossip and driven by who knows what obscure vengeance.

“And what I know even more is that the Strauss-Kahn I know, who has been my friend for 20 years and who will remain my friend, bears no resemblance to this monster, this caveman, this insatiable and malevolent beast now being described nearly everywhere. Charming, seductive, yes, certainly; a friend to women and, first of all, to his own woman, naturally, but this brutal and violent individual, this wild animal, this primate, obviously no, it’s absurd.

“This morning, I hold it against the American judge who, by delivering him to the crowd of photo hounds, pretended to take him for a subject of justice like any other.”

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5 responses to “Responses to l’Affaire Strauss-Kahn

  1. David Schatzky

    There are two victims.
    The chambermaid, absolutely.
    And Kahn-Strauss, victim of those around him who knew his modus operandi, but who failed to confront him strongly enough to stop him in his tracks, so he could avoid his inevitable fate: a fallen hero, defeated by his own desires, unable to see his scarring impact on the women he preyed on and the tragic consequences for himself.

  2. Robert Koch

    I understand this man has a pattern of sexual assaults. There is no excuse for that sort of thing and he should be treated like anyone else. No doubt this is an assault on his dignity, but he should have avoided this sort of thing. Having a consensual affair, as he did a few years ago, is one thing, but this is different. Le Figaro did not think so either.

    • David Schatzky

      Robert, you are right about what he did being inexcusable and that he has to take the consequences. But obsession and addiction have a way of blotting out a person’s capacity to see or tune into the need to act responsibly, to cause no harm to others or themselves. It is that flaw in an individual’s makeup which requires people who know them to step in, like a strong parent, and at least try to get them to set limits on their destructive behaviour. But most of us are wary of intervening. It’s akin to being afraid of pulling the emergency cord to stop a train wreck.

  3. Robert Koch

    I am perturbed by DSK’ s steadfast denial. If he is simply lying, that would be one inexcusable factor. But maybe it is really not true, just a form of blackmail, or a way for the maid to come into money. Not probable. The fact that Sarkozy is behind it – as I have heard – is not credible and should be dismissed.

  4. Those of us who are not deranged by “obsession or addiction” cannot easily imagine what life looks like through the eyes of someone who is. Assuming for a moment that DSK is as guilty as sin (as his track record unearthed by the media so far implies), his obvious ability to function at a very high level may only mask compulsions that bust out periodically. Tall, short, fat, thin, white, yellow, black or green may not matter very much at those moments. At the least, he is guilty of a colossal error in judgement that cannot be eplained just because he is French.