In French it’s called a ‘rebondissement’: an event that startles the reader awake with a major upset to the nicely stacked apple-cart of plot. Today the Supreme Court of the State of New York wrote a ‘rebondissant’ next chapter in the unfolding, sticky, sordid tale of Dominique and Ophelia. As all the world knows, at Friday’s bail hearing the judge literally unshackled the former head of the IMF, returned his wife’s one million USD, rescinded the 5 mil additional security etc.. All this on account of the prosecutor’s acknowledgment that the presumed victim has lied about a number of matters–as was leaked in a New York Times article of the day before.
Actually, the world outside the inner circle of players still knows nada. As before, the public is being fed rumor, including the mind-boggling New York Times revelations attributed to an anonymous source. The involved family members, lawyers and investigators know much more, or think they do. Possibly only the male and female protagonists know the whole truth of what happened between them in the Sofitel, and possibly each of them perceive a different truth.
One could go back over some evidential detail here, starting with the proof of ‘semen on the collar’ (don’t you keep hearing that Fifties rock’n roll tune?) and supporting statements and character references from Ophelia’s employer, co-workers, and a brother soon revealed as a fake. Pausing at DSK’s post-event lunch with his daughter, or was it with someone else (in any case filmed). Next the Camus’ ‘Stranger’ moment of Dominique’s prison experience on Riker’s Island. On to the obscene amount (24,000 USD a month is one mooted figure) that a rich suspect can pour into alleviating punishment by the legal system…
First, there was the Encounter. Next, the Terrifying Fall: Dominique Strauss-Kahn pulled down from his chariot of glory (another rumor, from Paris, puts Anne Sinclair boasting at a party the night before the Sofitel incident of being a shoe-in for First Lady of France). Now the Rebondissement, in which Ophelia, yesterday’s pitiful victim and today’s lying asylum seeker from Guinee, is having her turn being rolled in the mud. Large payments into multiple bank accounts, welfare fraud, five cell phones? What’s with that? In any case she is no longer the quasi-saint in the Muslim headscarf (forbidden in French schools) that some commentators made of her.
One wonders what those who rushed to finger-wagging conclusions about both Ophelia and Dominique–Maureen Dowd in the NYT, Mark Weisbrot in a Guardian article that juxtaposed rape of a black woman with economic rape of African countries– would like to add now.
The prosecution states they will continue to prosecute. On verra.
France is boiling over like a kicked ant-hill. The fifth largest economy in the world has as led by Nicholas Sarkozy been taking a major role on the world stage (leaders in Libya!) and one would imagine the voters grateful, but, to put it in short form, they hate his guts. Two months ago the PS (Socialist Party) was poised to win the next presidential election, with the enlightened, modernist DSK as candidate. But once DSK checked into an American jail, battle quickly broke out between the new PS front-runners Francois Hollande and Martine Aubry, both of them uncharismatic old guarders whose programs promise to bury economic viability in the grave of the 35-hour work week and unaffordable largesse.
Now there is a suddenly the glimmer of a chance that DSK, supported by his power clique in Paris and others heavily invested in his career, will manage to extricate himself from the US legal system, pull the tattered shreds of his dignity and honor around him and re-enter France as a candidate for President. If so, the combination of lousy alternatives and a complicated public psychological state (wounded national pride, admiration for the bruised warrior and general ‘he’s an s.o.b. but he’s our s.o.b.’ sentiment) could still conceivably lift him to the top job. Plenty of folks in France are already setting out the flags.
With so much seething rumor (last month Ophelia was said to have AIDS, now she is a drug dealer and/or prostitute) and facts that melt away like Cheshire cats, and so much assured conjecture already tossed around and tossed out, why not have a go at one’s own absurdly plausible scenario for the next chapter? Here it is: the Conspiracy. Not the ho-hum conspiracy by a gang of greedy immigrants to entrap a major international figure and ‘legally’ extort a huge windfall. No, this is the Deep Dismay Conspiracy, in which we eventually discover (maybe in 2050) that the White House, the Pentagon and, say, an exasperated Angela Merkel all freak out at the prospect of a retro, anti-Nato, anti-European Union PS President taking over in France. So they put the screws on the system to gather, leak and reveal maximum dirt on Ophelia, thus discrediting every word from her mouth and paving the way for a just-in-time dismissal of the now unstickable charges against their preferred future collaborator, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.