Friday, October 2, 2009

Letter to Tom Ashbrook and On Point on "Polanski"

In response to an interview with Henri-Levy and Ferraro:

I'd like to state that I am in favor of extraditing Polanski and making him stand trial. There are three points I would like to make:

1) Even though his victim has pardoned him, which she is welcome to do, she should no longer interfere with the criminal case. In India, bigamy is illegal for Hindus and it is a crime for Hindu men to have more than one wife. However, it can't be prosecuted and has almost never been prosecuted because only the injured party or someone with standing in the case can file a police complaint or file charges. In the case of bigamy, this translates into this responsibility being put on the first wife, who is all too often either submissive, subjugated or financially totally dependent on her husband.

2) Ferraro points out that Polanski's status should not affect the decision to prosecute or not. However, hypocrisy in prosecuting crimes or in access to justice is nothing new: when the Americans sign on to the International Criminal Court, and begin to prosecute those Americans who broke the law on torture (be they ex-Presidents or film-makers) and those soldiers and mercenaries who continue to commit crimes in Iraq and cooperate with international justice, perhaps it will then be easier for the Europeans to swallow the Americans' sanctimonius arguments about "no one is above the law".

3) Polanski should be tried not because "he is vile" but because he has broken the law. Judgments of character should not interfere with judgments of action - lest we fall into the fascist and hierarchical trap of letting the "good" people off the hook for their misdeeds - ranging from massacres during fascist Spain to rapes by high caste men against low caste women in rural India.

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