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DSK: the interactive international parlor game of the decade
The release of Dominique Strauss-Kahn from house arrest last Friday caused a mass rush for the exits: Commentators worldwide and all the more so in France searched their souls. How could we have believed the (former) IMF president was guilty of rape! The Sofitel chambermaid--identified as Nafissatou Diallo--who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault was transformed from a pious hardworking Muslim single mother into an inveterate hooker. The New York Post, source of the most garish leaks, claims the chambermaid was turning tricks in the hotel where she was housed under the protection of the DA’s office, at public expense. Her lawyer has filed lawsuit against the Post for defamation.
A scheduled meeting between DA Cyrus Vance Jr. and the defense team this Wednesday was construed as a sure sign that all charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn would be dropped within days or hours. French media, slurping up a mixture of reliable and dubious details, reported that the fake victim is a slut and a swindler whose drug-dealing husband is a jailbird. She lied—they say—on her refugee application, in her testimony to the Grand Jury, in her statements to the police and to the DA. Maybe she also lied to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, pretending to be seduced by his charm and then asking for a hefty fee? After all, the then president of the IMF is admired for his efforts to integrate developing countries into the powerful financial institution.
Here in France everyone scrambled to get on the right side of the truth. Journalists and public figures, profusely apologizing for having trusted the African chambermaid and, to a lesser extent, the American system of justice, started trashing Nafissatou. Those who insisted from day one that Strauss-Kahn would never have manhandled a woman are riding high. A few Socialist leaders are suggesting that DSK—washed, rinsed, and dried—could slip back into the primaries and emerge as their presidential candidate. All is forgiven, just please win!
French journalists trekked last month to Nafissatou’s birthplace, a remote village in Guinea, and from there to Casamance where she lived with her pious Muslim mother, filmed in prayer. That African footage is on the cutting room floor now. Character witnesses in the Bronx and the bush are in no-comment mode.
Now DSK is the innocent victim and the others are all whores. The DA Cyrus Vance Jr. whoring after a high profile case to guarantee his re-election. The NY Police whoring to skin a “horny frog” (dixit the NY Post). The feminist whores taking an axe to the despised male appendage. The governing UMP whoring with Accor, owner of the Sofitel, to get DSK out of Nicolas Sarkozy’s hair.
All’s well that ends well? Monsieur and Madame Strauss-Kahn are photographed as they come out of their luxurious Tribeca home and are chauffered to dinner in expensive restaurants. They step lightly with new found freedom, smiling…almost gloating.
A slim, fragile French writer, Tristane Banon, has decided to sue DSK for attempted rape. The court might reject the case outright, or enter into an endless investigation. The alleged incident goes back to 2003, when the young lady-- who was a friend of DSK’s daughter Camille (the one he lunched with after cavorting with the chambermaid)—was 23 years old. DSK’s lawyers and his political bedfellows are treating mademoiselle Banon like a pesky mosquito. Enough already! The Socialists are fed up. Not only did they lose their front-running candidate, but this “sordid” story is taking up the media space they need to sell their wares.
Politicos and philosophers are scolding the media for stirring the “’shit” and flaying an innocent man: his career at the IMF has been destroyed, his presidential hopes have been shattered, his Virtuous Wife and Decent Family have been sullied. The party that fielded Ségolène Royal—A Woman-- as its 2007 presidential candidate has pulled out the old patriarchal rape kit: she said no it meant yes, she’s a slut and a two-bit hustler, it’s her word against mine, and my wife stands by me like a lamp post.
The Figaro gives a succinct account of the incident as the defense tells it: Dominique Strauss Kahn steps out of the shower, naked, finds himself face to face with the chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo. A brief sexual relation ensues. Fifteen minutes later DSK packs his suitcase and checks out of the hotel. He had never met mme. Diallo before. There was no promise of payment, no violence.
What if the chambermaid had not filed a complaint? Would Dominique Strauss Kahn’s reckless sexual swing with a shady lady on the eve of a meeting with Angela Merkel have been appropriate? Aside from the fact that Nafissatou Diallo’s alleged misdeeds do not prove she wasn’t sexually assaulted, how would a man with such lofty ambitions be such a bad judge of character?
In fact, the charges were not dropped on Wednesday. Cyrus Vance Jr. doesn’t look like a dunce. And the chambermaid’s version is backed by new information from reliable sources: a cogent argument from for James Dwyer of the New York Times for bringing DSK to trial,
and a telling interview [ http://www.lemonde.fr/dsk/article/2011/07/06/affaire-dsk-les-elements-qui-etayent-la-these-de-l-agression_1545322_1522571.html#ens_id=1522342]
with Susan Enarios , director of the Crime Victims Unit, who saw Nafissatou Diallo just hours after the alleged assault… and corroborates her version of the incident.
And who knows what will be revealed tomorrow?