IMF Chief Jailed Without Bail in NY Hotel-Sex Case
The French decision to ban the use of the burqa by women in public has met with an interesting range of reactions. There are those who find the action culturally intolerant and smacking of the Islamophobic undercurrent that seems to be running through the developed world. Then there are others who see this as an affirmative step that pushes back against what they see as the tendency to pander to the interests of various minorities in the name of diversity and multiculturalism. And of course, there are still others who are torn between wanting to respect the right of all cultures particularly those marginalised by the mainstream and fighting the battle for gender equality. The banning of the burqa creates a schism between two liberal concerns and makes it difficult for this set of people to take a clear view.It is an interesting question, one which marks an inflection point in the attitude of the developed world towards the idea of tolerance towards other cultures. For years now, the tide has been turning against immigration with more and more countries tightening their laws and taking active measures to stem the influx of people from other countries. The debate about outsourcing in the US too reveals the ease with which countries that stood on pulpits and lectured to the world about the virtues of the free market backtrack when their interests are placed on the line. And of course, the post 9/11 world, liberal and otherwise, looks upon Islam in particular with deep suspicion, and this apparently legitimate need for caution has given force to a latent unease about the changing character of their own cultures in the wake of the relentless waves of immigration.
The fault line has been established between culturally neutral and universally applicable liberal values and countries that are culturally ‘loaded’. An asymmetrical relationship gets established between modern universalist ideas and ‘cultures’, one where local cultures need to be patronised in the name of respect. Liberal notions are seen to stand outside culture instead of being seen as being part of another kind of culture, which is what they are. The burqa debate tends to be seen as a conflict between modernity and Islam whereas it is perhaps more accurately described as one between two different cultures, both with their own set of constructed assumptions.
It is important to recognise that the uncritical acceptance of a certain view of modernity as being absolute, universally applicable and inevitable is inherently flawed. Take the example of arranged marriage for instance. To the modern mindset, this is an anachronistic institution, rooted in repression and one that must inevitably give way to what we call a love marriage in India. The Western mode of marriage is seen to be the right one, and something that the rest of the world must be converted to at some stage. And yet, it is hardly that simple. Firstly, the Western model is by itself flawed, in that it is still rooted in gender inequality (even now only the man can propose marriage) and offers little practical hope of durability. More importantly, in a culture like India which has opened up to change, the arranged marriage has evolved so as to take care of contemporary needs and continues to thrive. Increasingly, there are people choosing this mode out of their own free will.Even when the world seems to be embracing more modern notions of political organisation, it does not follow that it is equally keen to embrace other modern ideas. The brutal molestation of CNN reporter Lara Logan at the hands of a pro-democracy Egyptian mob is a reminder of the complexity of change. It is likely that democracy when it does come to the Middle East will look different from its cousins elsewhere just as freedom in the political area will not necessarily lead to emancipation in another.What seems to be happening is that with the reduction in the power distance between the developed world and others, the idea of liberal tolerance has taken a knock. The gap between professed ideals and primitive instincts is no longer sustainable and we can see a resurgence of shriller voices emerge in many parts of the world. The US is a good example of the nature of political discourse in today’s times for the debate there is being framed by people like Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and an assorted bunch of fringe lunatics preaching a dangerously simple-minded form of mainstream hate. And in a wider sense, when it cameto the crunch, the West’s liberal pretensions have collapsed quickly and dramatically, as is evident from Guantanamo and selective attacks on unfriendly regimes. The fact that the US celebrates Barack Obama because he is the first black President after over 200 years of independence and alleged equality is a telling commentary of the reality when it comes to tolerance and fairness. And even now, he is plagued by accusations about being Muslim, as it were some sort of crime.
The truth is that every culture will find its own trajectory of evolution. It is likely that the change will happen non-linearly, with movement taking place both forward and backward. The attempt to force change from the outside using external yardsticks of an absolute nature are unlikely to succeed, although they too will play a role in determining the pace and the nature of change. The banning of the burqa is a French reaction, not a modern one and it rooted in a set of cultural assumptions and not anything universal and absolute. The French have a right to safeguard what they see as their own way of life in their own way, but unpalatable as it might be to some, their actions are not fundamentally different from the say the Saudi ban on women driving. Both are primitive responses aimed at protecting a way of life and both take refuge in high minded ideologies. What we call modern , is at one level, just another culture or put another way just another tradition peculiar to some cultures.The apparent self-destruction of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a New York hotel is emblematic of a European left that has ceased to be much of a progressive alternative, either in terms of lifestyle or policy alternatives. Strauss-Kahn, who until yesterday headed the International Monetary Fund, was the Socialist front-runner to challenge French President Nicolas Sarkozy next year. Polls showed that Strauss-Kahn well ahead of both Sarkozy and far right populist Marine Le Pen.
But even before this latest scandal broke
, Strauss-Kahn didn’t seem like much of a socialist. Last week, the press caught DSK, as the local press calls him, and his wife tooling around in a borrowed $150,000 Porsche, which reinforced his image as wealthy playboy. In 2008, Strauss-Kahn barely survived a widely publicized affair with one of his IMF employees, and in the wake of the New York incident, another woman has stepped forward
claiming a rape in 2002.
Cynics here have argued that the wily Sarkozy promoted his likely rival for the IMF post to increase the chances that the imperious Strauss-Kahn would commit some highly visible and politically fatal act. For demolishing the Socialists’ claim to speak for the common Frenchman and woman, it’s hard to beat an accusation of the entitled Socialist standard bearer orally raping a chambermaid in a $3,000 luxury hotel room and then trying to skip town.
The last successful French socialist president, the dignified Francois Mitterrand, was known as la force tranquille (the quiet strength.) After the Porsche photos surfaced, Strauss-Kahn was instantly dubbed la Porsche tranquille. Mitterrand did not have a lavish lifestyle. He did discretely keep a mistress. They had a daughter together, whom Mitterrand acknowledged and faithfully visited. Among French leaders, this passes for personal probity.
French voters are increasingly sick of Sarkozy, whose cheesy behavior and deep cuts in French social benefits have led to a search for alternatives. But even before this episode, Strauss-Kahn looked like nothing so much as a faux-left version of Sarkozy. The latest outrage leaves voters to feel that elites, regardless of professed party identity, serve mainly themselves, their own megalomania, tawdry materialism and sense of invulnerability.
The larger casualties of this mess include the French Socialist Party, a more progressive IMF, and the credibility of public officials and institutions in general.
For all his personal flaws, Strauss-Kahn, in his current job as head of the International Monetary Fund, has been less of an austerity-monger than most of his predecessors. That’s a pretty low bar, but under Strauss-Kahn and his chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, the IMF has uncharacteristically weighed in on the side of not punishing nations with large deficits, but helping them to grow their way out of recession.
With Strauss-Kahn sidelined and probably finished, the IMF has appointed an American, John Lipsky, a career official, as acting managing director. Strauss-Kahn, as a French Socialist, had been leaning against the IMF austerity culture, and Lipsky is considered more orthodox.
The impact on the Socialist Party is also considered grim, but perhaps that’s premature. Two of Strauss-Kahn’s rivals for the nomination are themselves a former couple, ex party leader Francois Hollande and former presidential nominee Segolene Royal, who lost the election to Sarkozy in 2007. A third is Martine Aubry, the current party leader, who had dropped out of the race in favor of Strauss-Kahn but may now re-enter. Some of the French socialists whom I interviewed said that the erratic and arrogant Strauss-Kahn was a political time bomb, and that Hollande or Aubry had a better shot at beating Sarkozy. But this was hardly a good day for the French Socialist Party.
The pity is that the French electorate remains left of center. France has dozens of effective socialist mayors. When political preferences are de-linked from the flawed personalities of national leaders, the French electorate is more likely to support the left. But the combination of weak and squabbling Socialist party chiefs, the fragmentation of the French left into Socialists, Greens, and the further left Front de Gauche, and the quirks in the French electoral system which requires a runoff if no candidate gains a majority, the final two candidates next year could well be the far-right Marine Le Pen versus Sarkozy as the moderate. Strauss-Kahn’s reckless and grandiose personal behavior is symptomatic of a deeper sickness afflicting the European left. It isn’t just that people like Strauss Kahn flaunt their wealth, but that they share the financial outlook of the wealthy.
The world suffered a financial collapse in 2008 because deregulation had allowed the banking system to crash the economy. So-called “center-left” parties were complicit in this deregulation, whether under Bill Clinton in the United States, Gerhardt Schroeder in Germany, or Tony Blair in the UK. In France, Mitterrand began as a left-socialist and ended as more of a neo-liberal.
It’s small wonder that confused voters, looking for alternatives to the party of collapse and austerity, are skeptical of social democrats. In a world where national leaders have all the dignity and character of a Sarkozy or a Berlusconi, it would be splendid of the left stood for something better. But politics in general seems a mix of high life and lowlife, regardless of party, while daily existence for regular people becomes more of a trial.
In much of Europe, the left doesn’t offer a persuasive opposition strategy or program.
(An exception is Denmark, where the social democrats are favored to win the year’s election, which would make the dynamic Helle Thorning-Schmidt Denmark’s first woman prime minister.)
But for the most part, an ideological failure to stand clearly for something different tends to produce unconvincing leaders.
You still see Obama bumper stickers in Paris, where the U.S. president remains highly popular. Barack Obama not only still stands for hope, but he represents a striking contrast to both Sarkozy and Strauss-Kahn in his irreproachable personal behavior. But with the world still in financial crisis, that’s also a low bar. By itself, personal rectitude does little to rally public support of to solve deep national ills.
I suppose we Americans can take pride that our president has never been accused of assaulting a chamber maid in a luxury hotel. Now, if he would just assault the financial barons.
Former FHM France Babe Virginie Gervais took it up the ass in this sex scandel video. In this sex scandal, a FHM model’s porn past caught with her.
Celebrity sex tapes are nice but FHM model sex tapes are the best. French glamour model Virginie Gervais has been caught up in a porn Scandal. Virginie was the winner of France’s FHM “High Street Honeys 2005” competition. Though the sex tape was denied, a scar on her leg proved her involvement. Cheers… She is damn hot and fucking nasty in this pre-fame porn. Anal must have been invented in France because this French girl is a master at getting ass fucked.
Virginie Gervais (born June 24, 1979 in Versailles, France) is a French model and later turned porn star. She was born to an Italian father and German mother. In 2005 she was the winner of FHM France’s “High Street Honeys” competition. She made the cover of FHM Spain August 2007 issue in which she had a full and pictorial. It was later discovered that the model made an adult film before being famous, that appeared soon on the Internet and quickly propelling her to fame
In 2002 a German porn producer contacted Virginia. He proposed her to turn in his next film… X, Anmacherinnen 15: Enge Spalten. Recently she started her own website and appeared with the new model name Virginie Caprice, as her success continues and increases her appearances in TV commercials, music videos, films and magazines.