The French decades-long hospitality to confessed child rapist Roman Polanski, especially when held up next to Sarkozy’s nasal exegesis of the burqa, drips with pretense and hypocrisy. Likewise for the Hollywood elite who have come out in support of him.
By Ibrahim Abusharif, October 7, 2009
When Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski pleaded guilty more than 30 years ago to having illicit sex with a 13-year-old girl, his legal counsel brokered a plea agreement, according to press accounts, in order to avoid incarceration. But then the judge (now dead) reportedly reneged, and Polanski, 43 at the time, was confronted with the possibility of serious jail time. So the director, like in good movie drama, fled the country and has lived in France ever since, frequently visited neighboring European countries.
According to a New York Times op-ed piece by a friend of his, Polanski dined privately with three French presidents and has lived a life unmolested by French political and law enforcement officials for decades. In fact, he enjoyed the perks of celebrity status as he continued his film career. According to a Slate “Explainer” article, France and the United States have an extradition agreement in which both countries must consent to transfer fugitives. The Americans wanted Polanski, but the French declined, hence the man's freedom until Swiss law enforcement authorities finally arrested him two weeks ago.
While I make no judgment about this case per se, the following comes to mind: the French seem to have no problem granting freedom and privilege to a man who "drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl in the home of actor Jack Nicholson" (according to Slate). Yet French President Nicolas Sarkozy may declare, with little public dissent, that a woman who wears a burqa is not welcome in France because the burqa is a symbol of a woman's repression. In other words, the rape of a girl has no negative symbolism, and if there were such symbolism, then its expiration is rushed along nicely by a rapist's association with the arts.
Is this what we may infer from this French quandary? To recap, a middle-age man who reportedly forced a girl to satisfy his lust in natural and unnatural ways repeatedly is welcome in France to live, work, sign autographs, and dine at high levels, but a woman who dresses like the mother of Jesus (God bless mother and son) is told that there's no room at the inn...
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