Power, the great­est aphro­disiac

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Was Do­minique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund who has been ac­cused of sex crimes, a friend of Greece? You have to ask those who have lost their jobs, those who have seen their salaries or pen­sions de­cline and those who have seen their rights cur­tailed. Is Strauss-Kahn a so­cial­ist? You have to ask his com­rades in France and Greece who had no prob­lem min­gling with him for years at So­cial­ist In­ter­na­tional meet­ings along with the other flashy rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the so­cial­ist move­ment, in­clud­ing the blood­stained despots of the Arab na­tions that are now crum­bling in the face of pop­u­lar re­bel­lion. Will the likely re­place­ment of Strauss-Kahn dam­age Greece’s in­ter­ests? The an­swer ap­pears sim­ple. You sim­ply have to take into ac­count that dur­ing the French politi­cian’s ten­ure and be­cause of the gov­ern­ment’s deal with the IMF (bet­ter known here as the mem­o­ran­dum), Greece has given up a big chunk of its sovereignty (as Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou, the coun­try’s So­cial­ist premier has him­self ad­mit­ted). Mean­while, again ac­cord­ing to re­marks made by Pa­pan­dreou, this time to an Ital­ian news­pa­per, the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional len­ders have de­manded is­lands or mon­u­ments as se­cu­rity for bailout loans. (It is in­ter­est­ing to see that Greeks learn of the most im­por­tant stuff not from what is be­ing said in Par­lia­ment or via na­tion­wide ad­dresses, but through leaks and in­ter­views with for­eign news me­dia.) In a fit of schaden­freude, Strauss-Kahn is al­ready the butt of dirty jokes. Peo­ple are vent­ing their frus­tra­tion; it’s a sort of mini-re­venge that lifts us from our col­lec­tive de­pres­sion, as it were. That, of course, does not leave enough space for scru­ti­niz­ing the ac­cu­sa­tions or spec­u­la­tion that the for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter has, in fact, been set up. Whether Strauss-Kahn is in­no­cent or guilty will be de­cided in court. In any case, the temp­ta­tions that come with power – i.e. wealth or sex­ual dom­i­na­tion – have of­ten proved ir­re­sistible. This Ber­lus­con­ism, as it were, a shameless, pos­ses­sive, mis­guided lib­er­tin­ism, is best em­bod­ied, of course, in Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni him­self (dur­ing a re­cent cam­paign rally in Naples, the Ital­ian prime min­is­ter once again rev­eled in sex­ist jokes that many women among his au­di­ence, it must be said, seemed to cher­ish) – but the “heroes” of Ber­lus­con­ism can be seen in dif­fer­ent times and places. Is­rael’s for­mer Pres­i­dent Moshe Kat­sav was re­cently sen­tenced to seven years in jail for rape and other sex of­fenses. He too acted in line with the ageold and uni­ver­sal dogma that power is the great­est aphro­disiac of all, or it has no rea­son to ex­ist.

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