- By Cameron AbadiCameron Abadi is deputy editor at Foreign Policy. He previously worked at the New Republic and Foreign Affairs and as a correspondent in Germany and Iran. His writing has appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, the New Yorker, the New Republic, and Der Spiegel.
In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, Bernard-Henri Lévy continues to defend his buddy Dominique Strauss-Kahn. A translated selection:
Zeit: But Dominique Strauss-Kahn was treated like any other suspect.
BHL: Yes. But he’s not like everyone else. When a run-of-the-mill murderer leaves the police station in handcuffs, a firing squad of cameras isn’t awaiting him. But when it’s Strauss-Kahn, the whole world is watching. To act like you don’t see the difference there, that’s the real injustice.
Zeit: Contempt for the American justice system seems to be spreading in France.
BHL: This is not a problem of justice, it’s a problem of politics. On the one hand, they don’t want to show the pictures of the dead Bin Laden so as not to insult Muslims. On the other hand, they present pictures of Strauss-Kahn on a constant loop without bothering to see if that might insult his wife or family.
Zeit: France’s media has been discussing Strauss-Kahn’s lifestyle for the past two weeks…
BHL: The fields were tilled in advance. Preparatory shots were fired. And now you have the result: the head of the IMF wearing the very corset of guilt that was designed for him.
Zeit: Are we learning anything new about the relationship between power and sex?
BHL: That puritanical nonsense has overtaken western society.
This is so confused as to be really kind of delightful. Yes, just why didn’t President Obama realize that allowing the release of the DSK photos would potentially jeopardize national security by angering the Strauss-Kahn household? And if only Americans had the foresight to realize that the history books will record as the "real injustice" their treatment of DSK as a normal human being…
Anyway, I’d suggest resisting the temptation to correct the multiple misjudgments in favor of simply appreciating the floridness of Lévy’s imagination. (Is a "corset of guilt" a real garment? Is that why Lévy keeps his shirt unbuttoned to his navel, to show he’s not wearing one?) Here’s hoping Strauss-Kahn calls BHL in as a character witness.