I’ve been slow with blogging, even in the face of newsworthy happenings like the bin Laden killing, the massacre of the DMK in the state elections here, the arrest of the IMF chief for attempted rape. It has taken the self-styled “philosopher”, Bernard-Henri Lévy (previously a defender of the convicted paedophile Roman Polanski) to stir me to write again.
I generally have little admiration even for philosophers who actually philosophise — but if BHL is a philosopher, so am I. (I’m a doctor of philosophy, so there!) That apart, his defence of Dominique Strauss-Kahn turns out more to be an indirect slime — a series of insinuations — against his accuser, as well as a direct slime against a previous victim, Tristane Banon, who, he says, “pretends” and has “shut up for eight years”. (In fact she spoke about it before, on TV, but DSK’s name was bleeped out.)
“I am troubled by a system of justice modestly termed “accusatory,” meaning that anyone can come along and accuse another fellow of any crime—and it will be up to the accused to prove that the accusation is false and without basis in fact.”
I would look on that differently. The US system of justice is apparently such that a recent immigrant from a developing country, a lowly member of the cleaning staff in a hotel, who is molested and nearly raped by a rich man (she didn’t know who he was, but she knew he stayed in a $3000/night suite), feels empowered to complain immediately to her employers, instead of dying quietly of shame. (She is in fact reportedly very upset — but she did not choose to keep quiet, in the name of a fallacious “honour” so commonly invoked in the developing world.) The hotel, who knew who DSK was, didn’t dissuade her from complaining, but called the police. Within hours, the police pulled him out of the first class cabin of a plane that was about to depart for France. And he is now being treated just as any other suspect would be, and has been remanded to the same prison where ordinary criminals in New York are sent.
If such a system of justice “troubles” Bernard-Henri Lévy, perhaps he should explain why. I am sure harassed women, all over the world, wish for such a system. Would action on such a complaint, against such a figure, have been so swift in Paris? Or anywhere else? What does BHL have to fear from such a system?