It’s so French to see conspiracies everywhere; it’s almost embedded in French culture. But the appalling charges levelled against Dominique Strauss-Kahn have caused more that a Gallic shrug in the Elysée Palace and amongst les bourgeois, who are normally remarkably tolerant of the sexual peccadilloes of their leaders, for whom seduction, sans violence, is an art form. This has exploded like a landmine, a sex scandal “à l’anglo saxonne” with dirty laundry billowing in a most unseemly fashion on Parisian boulevards. Like most breaking stories, fact and speculation become intertwined. Had he wanted to satisfy his bestial and corrupt desires, he would surely have had no problem, financial or otherwise, in engaging the services of a leggy $3000 a night escort, discretion guaranteed. Instead, he has been portrayed as a potential rapist, sodomite and kidnapper, which individually is bad enough but collectively scarcely credible. And, all before lunch as well. Did he ‘flee the scene’? No, he had lunch then boarded his flight, having phoned the hotel since he’d left his mobile phone behind – the Press suggesting he ‘left in haste’. It seems clear that something went on which wouldn’t look good on his CV – perhaps he made some kind of pass at his accuser, an African-American maid, but it takes considerable determination and physical intimidation to force a young woman to engage in unwilling fellatio.
So, is there a conspiracy? Three weeks ago, Strauss-Kahn evoked such a possibility in an interview with French newspaper Libération when he said he thought he was under surveillance and named the three principal difficulties he foresaw if he was to stand for the presidential elections.
“Money, women and the fact I am Jewish”
Oh, dear. A rich philanderer with sympathies in Tel Aviv – he might as well paint a target on himself. Meanwhile, he is a guest at Riker’s Island, where he’ll hopefully not get to be best friends with Abdullah, 230 pounds, the Taleban weightlifter from Kabul.