Polanski arrest applauded by many around the world
Sep 29, 2009, 17:02 GMT
Arrested: A file picture dated 20 October 2005 of French director Roman Polanski during a press presentation of his film \'Oliver Twist\' in Rome. EPA/FRANCESCA RUGGIERI
Paris - As European politicians and artists rallied behind film director Roman Polanski, a growing number of voices were raised around the world welcoming his arrest after evading a 31-year-old sexual abuse conviction.
The online edition of the French weekly Le Point reported Tuesday that 97 per cent of the nearly 500 bloggers who commented on the affair applauded the 76-year-old director's jailing by Swiss police late Saturday.
One blogger said Polanski's seduction of a 13-year-old girl in 1977, after plying her with champagne and sedatives, was 'a horrible, despicable crime.'
Polanski pleaded guilty to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor but fled the United States before being sentenced.
French bloggers also condemned the support Polanski received from French artists, whom one described as 'the crypto-intelligentsia of our country' and another called 'the politico-bobo-cultural elite.'
'Have they lost all sense of values?' a blogger calling himself jean phi asked rhetorically.
Many writers underlined the privileged treatment from which Polanski appeared to benefit because of his position and wealth.
'You're rich, you're famous, therefore the law gives you a pass - that disgusts me,' coco2570 wrote.
Reactions were similar around the world, with one letter-writer to The Australia newspaper saying, 'If (Polanski) were not famous, would anyone consider his arrest unusual? If he were a Catholic priest or a school teacher, no one would have any sympathy for him.'
An Australian blogger named dylan agreed: 'Amazing scenes of double standards surrounding Polanski. Sure he makes good movies, however this is no excuse for his friends, governments and others to be shocked and dismayed that justice is finally catching up with him. He committed the crime and ran away - now it is time to pay.'
A French blogger named sylko wrote to the Le Figaro website, 'If he abused a 13-year-old girl back then, he should accept his act. The law must be the same for everyone.'
Spanish novelist Najat El Hachmi agreed. In her column in the daily Periodico she asked whether 'genius creators' could not be regarded as criminals 'because they make good movies.'
'Should we apply to them a different moral judgment from that we would apply to the anonymous poor wretch?' she said.
Igor Janke, writing in the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, wondered, 'How is it possible that higher officials of the Republic (of Poland) say they'll use state mechanisms to defend somebody who committed a crime? Why? Because they like his films?... This is a mockery of democracy.'
University of London philosophy professor A.C. Grayling neatly summed up these feelings by writing in The Times: 'Neither fame nor wealth, neither time nor distance, should render anyone immune to laws protecting against serious crimes against other human beings.'
'No, the whole world is not with Polanski,' prominent left-leaning columnist Maria Laura Rodota wrote Tuesday in Italy's most respected newspaper, Corriere della Sera.
And this needs to be explained, she concluded, 'not so much to the French government ministers, actors, directors and other celebrities (who have defended him) but to 13-year-old girls everywhere.'