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Knowledge, Money, Love And Slip Of Tongue

During last meeting in "Kiev ToastCrackers" club was held mock trial. Toastckrekers and guests played again Mata Hari's case to decide is she guilty or not.

I would remind that real Mata Hari was found guilty in 1917 for espionage.

True circumstances of the case are poorly established. I haven't got any exact proofs in literature. Though there are many facts about Mata Hari's previous life and her last days before execution, but nothing is about corpus delicti (from Latin concrete evidence of a crime). It was challenging for me and other participants. But it gave the room for imagination! We could produce new facts and connect them in a new way.

Before trial I didn't choose which side I'll protect. There were some ideas as for espionage charge as for defense. The role of Mata Hari's attorney was free. You can say it is not far from my real profession. What could be new for me from this experience?

But every speech in front of audience and participation in competitive debates give you first-hand experience in public speaking. You can get it in "Kiev ToastCrackers" club. Come and learn benefits of chasing new experience!

So, we sheared roles and started intellectual combat. My arguments why Mata Hari is innocent you can find below. Between them were next: she is victim of love with military men; she is unconscious of secret information; her lovers from German and French intelligence services must be responsible for spending state money; she got money not for spying but as love gifts.

The point is not who won. I cannot put into words what an amazing experience I got! Because one thing happened. While I launched into a description of how innocent Mata Hari is, during closing arguments instead of saying "My client" I said "My lover"! I said it unintentionally.

In actuality, it was slip of tongue in the best Sigmund Freud's tradition. But not just Freud would smile my clubmates smiled also when I slipped.

Funnily enough, but real Mata Hari's attorney was her lover!

"I assert that nothing ever comes to pass without a case" - said American clergyman Jonathan Edwards. I agree.

It's quite possible that Mata Hari in that moment whispered in my ear: "I am not guilty. Tell them, tell!.."

Who knows why I slipped... Although I lost my train of thought for second, I told.

After due deliberations, the jury found Mata Hari not guilty!


Here you can read my closing arguments:

"Madam Chief Justice, Ladies of jury, Prosecutor, Witnesses! The name of my client is Mata Hari. Not Magaretha Geertruida Zelle. Miss Zelle is completely unknown person and not interesting for you and for our case. As you know from Malay (Indonesian dialect) mata means "eye" and hari - "day", as a compound meaning "Sun".

Here we try a case about espionage. That is especially grave crime. This crime is against the nation, state and national defense.

From this word "espionage" my blood freezes. Espionage and Sun. Something is wrong because these two words are mutually exclusive. But what is wrong? Let's examine the Prosecutor's accusation.

But first, dear friends, I want to ask you. How can you imagine the spy? Maybe this one who wears long black cloak with stand-up collar? Of cause hat must be mandatory.

But my client is different! She is different not because the manner but matter! I explain you why.

Think about that: how can you imagine a doctor? This man treats patients. What is first in his profession? White clothing? Medicine? Pills, injections? No! Knowledge. Knowledge is the first. A man who wears white clothing, has pills, injections, but any knowledge is not doctor. He can be charlatan, magician. But he is not a doctor.

You can have textile, needle and thread, even sewing machine. But without knowledge how to sew the suit, you are not tailor.

So, who can be spy? First - military men, who have special skills and made training, serve in the intelligence service. These men seek for information or for people who have access to necessary information. Other spies are people who are not military men but have admission to secret information.

What about my client? Mata Hari is beautiful, charming lady, excellent dancer. But she is not useful for such thing as espionage! She is woman of not such knowledge. I mean knowledge about army, industry, about any top secret information that is necessary during the war.

Ask her about models of tanks or ships or airplanes or submarines in French army? Does she know it? No! Absolutely!

Espionage is a high art, but here we are dealing with other kind of art and life stile. Mata Hari's knowledge is specific. She knows models of dresses, shoes, fur coats, dishes in restaurants. My client is expert in fashion, cuisine, jewels. But she knows nothing about tanks, ships and airplanes.

Let's talk about Prosecutor's arguments. You could hear that Mata Hari had many lovers between military men as Frenchmen, as Germans. But many most influential, rich, self-confident men wanted to have love affairs with her. Not only military men. Why? Not because her beauty only. There are many beauty women around. But why? Maybe because she had so important position in Parliament or government? No, she had not.

Mata Hari has specific attractiveness. That is because she is self-made woman. She is dancer. Yes, her dances are provocative, erotic and sexy. But that is her invention, imagination and hard work.

Prosecutor has right that Mata Hari had nickname in German intelligence service. She was registered as a spy. She got money from Germany like a spy. But what kind of secret information she did and could deliver? She even can not say exactly. Prosecutor could not also. Because she got money not for spying. It was love affair with German Reichschancellor - head of government. Though he is the leader of the country and No. 1 General, he has not cash at hand. The irony is that he has not personal money, although he governs with all Germany's money. For that reason Mata Hari as a foreigner in Germany got money like a spy. But all this was fiction. It was suitable for Reichschancellor.

I am sure it must be awkward time for German Reichschancellor to explain for German taxpayers how he spent their money. But we are not in Germany. We are in France. My client got money from this country as a spy also. But that was the same case. Officer from French intelligence service fell in love with my client. He was married. For keeping love of my client he stole the money from budget of French intelligence service and pay Mata Hari as a spy. But she was just woman who trusted the men.

It's not my client's fault that intelligence service men are so little-minded that they don't know how to win the love without stealing from state's budget.

How can we accuse Mata Hari of getting money? She got it not for passing secret information about army or industry. This secret was love. But can we accuse woman for love? No. Because women are made for love.

This case must be lesson for all of us. As for Frenchmen, as for Germans. Because ordinary people who are taxpayers must to check expenses of all officials. They can not spend public money for caprices. I regret to say that lovers of my client were second-raters despite their high ranks and power.

Ladies of jury! Mata Hari is waiting for your verdict. I suppose that you put into her hand hope and love, not the stone.

Espionage. It's too could and dark for so bright personality like my client. "Sun" or Mata Hari on Malay is much better.

When you will conduct the deliberations on the verdict in the case, please pause on her name and treat not with cold impartiality as juries but with heart. She deserves it".