16 May 2011

Strauss-Kahn: human catastrophe

It’s possibly the most high profile civil arrest of all time. News of it is so shocking, so repelling, that one gulps upon hearing it on the radio.

The first classedness of so squalid an accusation. The most expensive hotel suite, most of us have ever heard of, let alone seen; a mobile phone belonging to the accused; a chamber maid; the arrest itself not just aboard a departing plane at John F Kennedy Airport, but in the first class compartment of his own national airline, Air France; an identity parade and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Allegations of attempted rape, a criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment.

His arrest, the chamber maid’s allegations are each so devastating that the human mind races through every aspect of the awfulness to try to make sense of such power being brought so low even before a page of the Court register has been turned. From a $3,000 a night suite, to a limousine; to a plush first class seat and bowing French attentiveness, to the snap of American handcuffs; and the stench of a Harlem high security police cell.

Whatever the outcome it is a horribly human catastrophe. And I haven’t begun to mention the impact upon France. France, the mother of some of the most creative fiction in the world, is confronted with the front page reality – “DSK arrĂȘtĂ©”. In France, this is a Goliath of a man – leading Sarkozy in the presidential opinion polls with a an election next year.

Read more – IMF chief faces test over sex charges

And then there is the International Monetary Fund, of which he is boss of bosses in the stabilisation of global financial systems. His arrest comes at a moment when the financial affairs of European man are in more debt related danger than in almost any other peace time period. Even France could not have written it.

As another news day dawns, it is one of the most perplexing, complex, simple, and disturbing of human stories.
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