A free man, but in disgrace. Dominique Strauss-Khan was smiling arriving back in Paris from New York, and there were even some cheers as he was escorted through the airport, but it was a different story when he got home.
The press was out in force laying siege to his smart Place des Vosges address, and as he was taken inside, insults started to fly.
“You need to see a doctor!”
“We’re in a democracy; he’s a fat creep and I have the right to say it. We don’t want him in our country. Let him go somewhere else to get treatment,” were just three of the often unprintable shouts thrown at the former French presidential favourite.
One bystander was able to give a more considered opinion:
“He hasn’t really been cleared. This has happened this way because of how the US legal procedure works. They couldn’t go any further. Now we’re told he’ll have a role to play in reviving France, well, for the moment I don’t really agree.”
Strauss Khan still has friends in the town where he used to be Mayor; Sarcelles, a Paris suburb.
“I think we should wipe the slate clean, 200 percent. Not only in Sarcelles but the rest of France too is ready to wipe the slate clean on what happened,” said a market trader.
One problem for DSK is that the case will return to haunt him through a civil trial in New York, and there is the ongoing Tristane Banon case in France that could soil his reputation further.
But some stay loyal, like one former student who came to sing his old teacher’s praises below his windows and jump on the media bandwagon that is set to roll on, and on.