"Let He Who Is Without Sin..."
It would take several weeks for me to organize a coherent and complete account of what the websites are saying about Frédéric Mitterrand. In the smallest nutshell I can construct, there has been a new revelation, one very likely to bring him down, if anything does. It seems that he served as a sort of character witness for two men from Reunion Island accused of gang raping a young girl. This event occurred while Mitterrand was head of the French Academy in Rome, better known to Frenchmen as the Villa Médicis: an art school and center for the promotion of young French artists. Mitterrand was in charge of the establishment until his appointment as Minister of Culture. (Why a French official stationed in Rome would rush to the defense of two rapists on Reunion Island is not clear at this time.) It does not appear that he actually took the stand, but that he wrote a letter to the presiding judge attesting to the good character of the two defendants and their family. How such a letter came to be removed from what are supposed to be private legal files, then published openly in the French media, has yet to be explained, but Mitterrand says he will sue. It is not clear whom he will sue. Here is a passage from Le Point, dated October 9, on the circumstances surrounding this latest revelation:
When he read the Quotidien de la Réunion (the Reunion Daily) on Friday morning, the Minister of Culture discovered a facsimile of a letter he had written, dated last March 18 when he was still director of the Villa Médicis, a government appointed position. In the hand-written letter on Villa Médicis stationery, and "fully conscious of the seriousness of the acts imputed to them," he presents himself as a character witness for two minors who would later be convicted in the lower courts to 8 years in prison for having participated in a gang rape, at knifepoint, on a 16-year-old girl.
Note: According to Marine Le Pen, Mitterrand never even met with the two criminals after their arrest, had no contact at all with them, yet he dared to attest to their morality.
"I am outraged that they are pursuing me on this matter. I repeat: it's disgusting!" said the angry minister in the columns of the Journal du Dimanche (Sunday Journal). "Haven't you ever helped somebody in your life?" Frédéric Mitterrand declares that he had been trying to help out his godson - the son of his former makeup artist from France 2 television. Moreover, in his letter to the presiding judge of the Reunion tribunal, Mitterrand suggests that he would help his godson and the accomplice reestablish themselves in society: "As director of the French Academy in Rome, I personally commit myself to facilitating any steps toward their reestablishment that might be considered, either in Paris or in Rome, in the public institution of which I am the head and in the form of a training program." Then he added: "I have at my disposition a certain number of contacts that could be put to good use."
Note: The above is not entirely clear. He seems to be offering the two criminals a chance to study at the French Academy in Rome! Did he expect to make artists out of them? According to Marine Le Pen, he also stated in the letter: "I am fully conscious of the seriousness of the deviation imputed to them." She expresses her astonishment at the word "deviation" ("écart"), when the crime in question was a gang rape at knifepoint.
The full text of the letter can be found at comment #1874 at François Desouche.
There is word that a meeting is being held at Elysée Palace and that a statement will be issued on the minister's possible departure from the government within a few days. Apparently the constitutional court has to reach a decision on whether or not he broke French laws.
Marine Le Pen has been handed a great deal of political capital after her appearance on October 5 on Mots Croisés, during which she revealed the first installment of accusations against the minister. She knows what to do with political capital - she is all over the web and the television channels, stating and restating her case against Mitterrand, and in the process, giving the Front National a much needed shot in the arm. Naturally, accusations of "fascism" are being hurled at her by some publications of the MSM, but an article in Le Figaro was quite favorable and contains this significant passage:
Marine Le Pen is determined to exploit the affair to her advantage. She represents the spokesperson for common sense confronted with a "caste who believes it has the right to do as it pleases and whose members protect each other", and demands loudly and clearly the resignation of Frédéric Mitterrand. She attacks Nicolas Sarkozy, "who claimed during the presidential campaign 2007 to have turned the page on May 1968 and its excesses"; to her, the minister of culture is the incarnation of that period.
A significant statement because she gets to the heart of the matter - the true nature and value system of Nicolas Sarkozy, a child of May '68, totally unreconstructed and unreconstructable. It is because of Sarkozy that every Socialist who isn't in his grave (and a few who have been exhumed) is in the Sarkozy government; because of Sarkozy that personages who are the antithesis of what is needed in France are, with unerring preciseness, picked for plum government posts. So we must not blame Mitterrand too much. He should resign, yes, but he should never have been hired for that position in the first place. Rumor has it that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was instrumental in persuading her husband to give him the job. (Note: That is a rumor; I do not have proof.)
But the left-wing publication L'Express ran an article entitled "The Fachosphere accuses Frédéric Mitterrand of pedophilia." "Fachosphere" being the "fascist" blogs of the right-wing blogosphere. The underlying implication is that he should not be accused of pedophilia (even though he admitted to it in his book). And that if you defend the rights of the children of a poor country such as Thailand you are a "fascist".
However, Benoît Hamon, spokesman for the French Socialist Party, has NOT taken sides with the minister. In an article in 20 Minutes he explains his position:
"Just at the time when France is working with Thailand to clean up this plague of sexual tourism, here's a minister from the government who admits to being himself a consumer," says an indignant Benoît Hamon, who refuses to regard the issues from the point of view of relativity. "Monsieur Mitterrand, who for now has not demonstrated any skill as Minister of Culture, has instead become illustrious in a domain that does no honor to the government or to himself." To which Frédéric Mitterrand replied:
"To get dragged in the mud by the Front National is an honor", he said, adding, after hearing the words of Benoît Hamon: "It is indeed a shame to think that elected officials from the Left are joining the Front National. I must say I'm flabbergasted (...) If the Front National drags me in the mud, it's an honor. If a deputy from the Left drags me in the mud, it is shameful for him."
Hamon is not the only Socialist to question Mitterrand's qualifications as minister. The top leaders of the party are being very cautious about what they say. They don't want to moralize, but at the same time they are aware that he is in trouble of his own making.
Still, Hamon has received sharp criticism from Sarkozy's Minister of Immigration Eric Besson, a Socialist who left his party to work for Sarkozy. For Besson:
"(...) to see Benoît Hamon go, in one week, from being the spokesman for the Socialist Party to being the spokesman for Marine Le Pen is a frightening regression."
An article posted at I Like Your Style discusses a televised interview between Frédéric Mitterrand and reporter Laurence Ferrari:
(...) A journalist, Laurence Ferrari, questions a minister. Who reminds everyone that he is Minister of Culture and Communication. The television channel that employs Laurence Ferrari is, therefore, indirectly, under the authority of this minister, a privileged interviewee, in a closely monitored and controlled sector (...) Reassuring, isn't it?
Then come Mitterrand's arguments:
"I only went to Thailand to be sodomized by 50-year-old boxers."
Note: Mitterrand DID say that he went to Thailand to frequent older men. But I cannot believe he used the colorful language imputed to him by I Like Your Style. When he made this claim, he triggered a stream of jokes, cartoons and sarcasms. Obviously one does not go to Thailand for that, but Mitterrand was attempting to distinguish homosexuality from pedophilia. He admits to being homosexual, but refuses to admit to being a pedophile, even though four years ago in his book he openly admitted it.
Later in the interview, he uttered an immortal phrase (did he suddenly become a Christian?):
"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..."
Taking him up on it, I Like Your Style replies:
Paf! There's a stone for you! I have never done sexual tourism. And among the TV viewers an overwhelming majority have never done sexual tourism either. And that is the most serious thing: Mitterrand has absolutely no idea that he did something morally reprehensible, or even marginal. He probably imagines that everybody goes to Thailand to be sodomized by "50-year-old boxers". Well, no. The moral turpitude of Mitterrand and some of those like him is not universal. It is even rare: you have to have means, and a certain influence, to be so certain of escaping from the law, or at least from investigations, at any rate from reproaches.
And speaking of Thailand, that country has urged France to "settle its accounts with its ministers", insisting that in Thailand the fight against the abusive sexual practices involving children goes on.
French readers who have not done so should consult this webpage from François Desouche. Everything is there, including thousands of comments. There is also a cumbersome array of videos that clog the page and often prevent scrolling. These videos (IMO) should be divided up among several pages. I'm sure the newer computers can handle this video overkill, but it has been taking me longer to scroll down that one web page than to translate an entire newspaper article.
One video of Marine addressing the youth of the Front National, and ripping into Mitterrand's words, can also be viewed at the FN website.
The photo at the top is featured in an article at Novopress.
Below, from cartoonist Langelot, the title reads: "Euh, actually, this was about gerontophilia", while the old Thai says: "Since you no like young boys I play a lot with you... Much experience" and the weary minister sighs: "I came 10,000 kilometers for this?"