Wednesday, July 27, 2011


So we finally get to see and hear the woman who accused DSK of attempted rape. She had the risky idea to tell her story to Good Morning America. Now everybody is saying she sounds fake. I saw the interview. Looks like it was edited by Young Frankenstein.  Robin Roberts solemnly asks a question -- cut to Miss Diallo answering -- cut to images of them walking down the street -- cut to another question. Clumsy, stilted and the rhythm is off. Why couldn't it be a natural conversation where we could get a more spontaneous appearance from Diallo? I saw the TV interview with the father of that crazy Norwegian creep and the camera was set behind him, so as not to show his face, and was fixed on the reporter as she spoke with him. There were no cuts or camera moves. The compassion in her face was palpable, and his declarations, uncut and unrehearsed, felt genuine, poor man.
What I'm saying is that I would not blame Nafi Diallo exclusively for seeming histrionic and fake. This piece of garbage journalism is rehearsed and overbaked. 
Still, she doesn't come across like the shy, mousy thing people expect of a rape victim. She is attractive and exuberant. She is histrionic. She cries, or pretends to, on command. Her accent is funny. She has personality. She went over the top with the bit about finding out DSK was going to be the next president of France and fearing for her life because in her country if you mess with power, you can end up dead. But I kinda like her spunk. I like that maybe DSK finally met his match. Instead of one shitty human being maybe now we have two. Bring it!
At this point she may be eyeing the book contract and the paid appearances, but she has to know that if she goes to court, as she so fervently wishes, the defense is going to destroy her. She knows what they are saying about her lies to immigration, contacts with undesirables, numerous bank accounts and all that, so if she insists on a day in court, either she is too brave, or she's nuts.
Maybe she went on TV to perversely encourage Cyrus Vance not to pursue the criminal case, so she can try to get the money from the civil case? Otherwise, I think it was a pretty bad move, unless she is one of those people whose goal in life is to be on TV. Still, as I have said before, she may be a conniving diva, but if she was attacked, a crime was committed and needs to be brought to justice. I still believe she was attacked.

Now, all those indignant people who are livid about the fact that immigrants from fucked up countries lie in order to gain political asylum in this country, do me a favor, get a life.
People want to lynch this woman because omg! she lied in her immigration application. Americans behave sometimes as if they cannot fathom that someone would lie for whatever reason. This George Washington syndrome is very annoying. People tell lies all the time. Pious lies, little white lies, necessary lies, malignant lies. Don't act as if this sullies your entire concept of humanity beyond repair.
Guess what, if you come from a hellish place and this is the way you can gain entry into the land of opportunity, you are going to lie to get in. People lie to the asylum system all the time because they are desperate to come here. It's not good that they lie, but as Suketu Mehta writes in this week's New Yorker, it's what gets them in and it's what is expected. Officials expect to hear the most truculent stories and so applicants make them up, or embellish on already horrible circumstances. Everybody knows applicants lie. Everybody knows business owners look at social security numbers that might be fake and look the other way. So stop the freaking self-righteous hypocrisy already. It's revolting.
Many immigrants abuse the asylum system. I heard of a Venezuelan gay man who claimed political persecution, even though there is no official policy of harassment against gays in that country (simply put, everyone is homophobic). As I was reading Mehta's account of the immigrants' lies about atrocities and torture, I remembered reading about the Iraqi translators who have helped American troops in that war and now that they ask for asylum for totally legitimate reasons, they are completely ignored and abandoned by the US government. These people risked their lives to collaborate with an occupying force and this is the thanks they get.
Americans will never understand what it means for someone to seek a better life in a foreign country. (Well, let me qualify that. They may start knowing what it means after August 2, when we default on our debt. But that's another story, also involving a very particular form of local stupidity).
Many Americans don't understand the risks people are willing to take, or the things they are willing to do to be able to have a decent life. They get all bent out of shape because people fake their names, their social security cards, their stories. I'm not saying it's okay, but I can understand why they do it. As long as they work hard, pay taxes and do not harm anybody, what the hell do you care?
You don't know how good you have it here.  You don't know that people from other less coddled countries navigate much more treacherous realities, full of impunity, corruption, chaos, poverty, and hardship. Get a passport and travel around (all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean don't count) so you can get a sense of the real world out there, you morally superior fucks.

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