Thursday, September 27, 2007

The McCann's Version - Despite Conscious Effort to Believe It- My Doubts Remain.

This video raises a lot of the questions that continue to perplex me about this case, please watch it. Writing below the video link, I attempt to explain why despite wanting to believe the McCann's version of events, I remain wracked by doubt.

I think that I must be like a lot of people who have been following the tragic case of the missing child Madeleine McCann. I was appalled by the fact that a young innocent child sleeping in her bed, on a lovely family holiday could go missing. I found it very upsetting to think through the implications of her disappearance, an abduction of one so young could only be for the foulest of motives. Like many, I guess I understood what the possibilities were, she sadly could be dead, probably killed by the panicking and deeply disturbed individual who snatched her in the first place, in an attempt to avoid judicial punishment and the huge weight of shame and culpability which would descend on the perpetrator and his family, and yes it was going to be a male in my minds eye,in all likelihood somebody not too dissimilar in profile to Ian Huntley. I suppose, I too toyed with the notion of an abduction to order, that old deeply seated fear of western Christians, that Muslims, in all likelihood the archtypal abductor of blond Christian children the 'Moors' could be responsible. At least the child would be alive.Yet staging an abduction to acquire a blond child, when the former USSR is full of blond children whose parents or orphanages would only be too happy to supply such a child for a fat bribe seems far fetched and derived more from some folk memory of Moorish raids. Acquiring a child through the well established people trafficking trade, could presumably achieve the same end at a significantly smaller price and far less risk and hullabaloo, and for considerably less trouble than snatching a sleeping child from a crowded holiday resort in Portugal. A resort which is not even particularly close to Morocco compared with the many Southern Spanish resorts,thronged with blond visitors in the summer months.
I observed the battle developing over the case, the PR 'War' and like many others I fell in line with the view, widely touted, that the Portuguese police were immensely unprofessional and in some obscure way vaguely incompetent. The coverage led one to cry in exasperation, 'if only a decent police force could take charge', it would be possible to get to the bottom of all this. Somewhere during this wet summer I started to think the unthinkable....I began to wonder how it was that I and my critical faculties had been so readily suspended.I sadly came to the conclusion, that not for the first time in my error strewn life, I had bought the story I wanted to believe. I wanted to believe that this poor innocent little girl had been abducted by a mysterious active force for evil, an evil unknown perpetrator. After all were not the alternative possibilities too difficult to contemplate? To even consider the possibility that this young girl was not actually abducted at all, opens up a vista of possible deceit and inhumanity which one instinctively seeks to quell as soon as it enters your head. On many occasions when that thought has entered my mind, I have remorsefully dismissed it as a possibility, even beating myself up a bit emotionally for even thinking such a thought.
Observing the 'PR War' I wrote a piece for this blog about that battle for hearts and minds which was going on, and tried to pinpoint why the McCann parents were in my opinion 'losing' that battle. After a relatively short while, I pulled that posting from this blog because it was clear that some of the 'facts' of what happened that night were not in truth established facts at all, in particular what happened when the unfortunate Kate McCann discovered Madeleine was missing from her bedroom. I realised that so much was unclear and unproven, that even an analysis of the reasons why the extremely well resourced McCann family campaign for Madeleine was hitting the sand, seemed to be plumping on one side of the controversy about who was responsible for her disappearance. I simply did not want to adopt a judgemental position on this matter. I was appalled of course by the fact that the child and two even younger children were left alone, but my sympathies for the plight of the parents were so strong, that like many others I tended to ignore that 'elephant in the room'.Castigating the McCann's for this huge error of judgement seemed a bit inappropriate, like turning around after a car crash and saying something like it would never have happened if you had'nt insisted on embarking on the journey 'despite the weather forecast I told you about the night before' , an utterly useless sentiment, akin to bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Yet, despite all the attempts to summon up sympathy, I find myself getting very angry about this case. This anger puzzles me , it is not really stemming from lengthy analysis, (although I have read a lot of material about the case). Rather this very real anger is coming from a nagging and insistent perception, call it intuition if you wish, that something about the versions of events being propogated in the British media, and originating from the McCann's themselves and their closely knit circle of friends is fundamentally flawed,to me it just does'nt hang right. This sense of not being told it how it really was, persists and in fact gets stronger the more PR effort is expended , and the more spin doctors called Clarence are brought to bear on my brain . When I am expected to be sympathising with a grieving McCann family it just does'nt come, I want it to, but that human emotion does'nt come to order, it needs certain emotional cues. Sympathy for the child Madeleine I have aplenty, but for Gerry and Kate the emotional buttons are'nt being pressed, I find myself comparing my reactions to the truly grief stricken mother of the late Rhys Jones after he was gunned down in Liverpool, and the reaction I had to that scene was strongly and deeply sympathetic, because the emotions and body language of Rhy's mother were utterly unambiguous and profoundly human. I hope that my persistent doubt is misplaced, I genuinely do. I hope that this 'Moorish' abductor makes an error and little Madeleine is reunited with her parents. If the poor misfortunate is dead, then I hope the perpetrator or perpetrators are brought to justice swiftly, not least so that this child can be laid to rest with the dignity that she and all human beings deserve.

26 comments:

Chekov said...

What makes me feel extremely uncomfortable about the McCann case, is the manner in which it has become public entertainment. I sat around a restaurant table a couple of weeks ago where the various theories were discussed with a relish normally reserved for particularly compelling television dramas. I certainly am not immune from finding myself entering into the frenzy of speculation and it causes me a degree of self-disgust when I do.

Leftwing Criminologist said...

I find myself loath to discuss this issue, as chekov notes also, for the reason that such an unfortunate event has become a matter of entertainment and a big selling point for in particular the tabloid papers. I do not wish to take a moral standpoint on the McCann family, but I do find what this young child has been subjected to horrific.
However, as a socialist I don't trust the capitalist state forces to do so effectively, moreover I don't trust the media to be of that much use, as they'll jump from one story to the next without any regard for the child herself, just their circulation and hence profits.

Anonymous said...

Thank you

Marje

Steve said...

Great video, sums up my thoughts entirely. And, as an Englishman, thoroughly agree with your comments on the government and media in my country. The whole affair has made me sick to my stomach.

Hellen said...

I toally agree with what you have written. If only the reporting on this case had not been so biased I truly think we would have got to the bottom of it sooner.

Anonymous said...

You said everything that I wanted to say. Exactly.

David Duff said...

Couldn't finish watching that tendentious video which was quite as bad as the media reporting. Nor could I finish your exercise in pathetic hand-wringing. None of us knows anything for sure so all the more reason to shut up until proper charges are made and tested in court.

Txel·li said...

Publicity. Sometimes, what at first had been to his advantage turned against them in the end.
Regards

Gabriel said...

David, if you were'nt interested in this issue you wouldnt be reading the post I think. Sorry if I was not convinced about the McCanns innocence nor am I as convinced as some about their guilt, if that counts as hand wringing then I plead guilty.

David Duff said...

I didn't say I was uninterested, but knowing next to nothing on a case of this complexity, I think it better to keep my mouth shut and my fingers off the keyboard.

However, I have been sickened by the vitriolic campaign, amounting almost to the level of lynch mob frenzy, pursued by an increasing number of low-life bloggers with nothing better to do but accuse the McCanns of infanticide with not a scrap of evidence to support it. The video you pointed us to, with its slick-as-spit presentation and moody music, to say nothing of its unending insinuations, would have made Joseph Goebbels proud.

It might also, perhaps, have received a nod of approval from your name-sake, 'Gabriel', the cartoonist, whose memorial paeon in cartoon form (see post below) to one of the greatest mass murderers in history was indeed a confirmation of your description of him as, er, "strikingly prescient". More like 'thuddingly thick', I would have said.

Gabriel said...

Sorry you feel that way David, but as I said, I think that its perfectly legitimate to ask questions which have so far remained unanswered about the McCann's version of events. One of the strengths of the blogosphere is that questions can be posed which are certainly not being posed by the mainstream opinion formers in the print and broadcasting media.

D.B. said...

Hiya Gabriel. Finally linked your blog on your mine - sorry it's taken so long.

Keep up the good work pal.

Best wishes,

DB

Mick Hall said...

Gabriel

A fine piece of work, the video is the type of journalism that the mainstream media should be engaged in, but instead of asking these type of questions they are out on countless 'photo-shoots' with the McCann's and their entourage.

At first I thought the media coverage the MaCann's have received was down to class prejudice, i e "nice middle class people just like us simply do not do child killing, we leave that to the working class council estate oiks etc".

Now I am not so sure, so maybe it is time to ask just who are the McCanns and what/who has given them such great pull?

Whether they are involved in the death of there daughter I have no idea, what i do know is they are partially responsible for her disappearance by neglecting her and thus they do have 'real' questions to answer. Why they have not gone away and thanked their god that they did not lose three children on that night is a mystery to me.

If they are innocent in that they had no part in her disappearance and I hope this is the case, maybe all this media huffing and puffing which they have been engaged in is a means to delay the day when they will have to face up to the consequences of their neglect on that fateful evening.

ottershrew said...

Thanks, Gabriel, for your comment! Your blog looks excellent - nice thoughtful stuff. I'll add it to my blogroll.

- Ottershrew

David Duff said...

Honestly, and you lot complain about the late Sen. McCarthy!

"the video is the type of journalism that the mainstream media should be engaged in"

You mean like the old-style 'Pravda'!

Proletarian Librarian said...

Glad to have found your blog! Very thoughtful and well written. I'm a librarian with a new blog. Stop by if you have a moment.

madredmeech said...

i don't think its hand-wringing, but simply being honest that you ain't made yer mind up yet, and possible reasons why not.

agree with mick hall, i thought this got more coverage and they were not pulled up on their behaviour and inconsistencies in story cos nice white middle-class doctors,etc.

i have every sympathy for this poor little child, but untold children are hurt or die cos of the system every day - cos of war, sanctions, the so-called free-market forcing their family and country to grow cash crops instead of food, poverty, lack of available medicine.etc,etc

why are there never any stories about these kids? surely their lives are just as valuable, and if ppl wanna really care they need to stop production for the profits of a few parasites and start production for need

no disrespect to this wee kid, hope she is found and i am not like 'god' and blame the 'sins' of the parents upon the child - even when not sure something is going down, but like u and others say, this case is being treated in a very unusual manner

Anonymous said...

Well said David Duff. Gabriel - get a fucking grip.

simon said...

That video is atrocious - how you can lay into the whole of the "British media" and then direct us to something so ill thought through, so speculative, so lacking in evidence and so emotionally manipulative [the music!!] as THAT piece of non-journalism shit is beyond me. [Honestly. It surprises me that you're linking to it as you appear, from your other posts, not to be a moron ;-)]

You say this: 'like many others I fell in line with the view, widely touted, that the Portuguese police were immensely unprofessional and in some obscure way vaguely incompetent. The coverage led one to cry in exasperation, 'if only a decent police force could take charge'

Well that's your problem there. I, and many other sensible vaguely intelligent users of the "British media" [I keep putting it in quotes because it isn't an actual "thing", you know, the "British media". It's not like Pravda] didn't think that. We just thought "oh, that'll be A SECTION of the media going a bit mad. I'm going to see what happens and make my mind up when evidence comes to court. In fact, not even then, given that I won't be privy to all the evidence! I'll leave it to people who know far more about this kind of thing than I do."

Trust me, there are millions of British people who HAVEN'T been dragged along by the emotional ups an downs of "are they guilty, are they innocent." Something awful has happened there, one way or the other, but it's not for me to get "wracked with doubt" or try to weigh up what little bits of evidence I can glean through the filter of the media. We haven't all become a load of post-Diana over-emotional unthinking sheep you know!

I don't know what version of the "British media" you've been keeping up with but two points. 1. The world's media has covered it in pretty much the same way. 2. SECTIONS of the media I've seen have been FULL of speculation. Of exactly the kind you're doing. It doesn't help anybody. YOU'RE part of the problem here.

Gabriel said...

Simon. I am sorry that I have evoked such an apoplectic reaction from you, but I am just wondering what would the attitude of the British media be to a pair of working class scousers or glaswegians who went out for a nights drinking with their holdiay mates, leaving a three year old and two babies alone in an apartment 200 yards away from their pub (tapas bar), and subsequently reported that the 3 year old had gone missing. Sorry pal, I think you and I know the answer, they would be HUNG DRAWN and QUARTERED....Instead this professional well connected couple get the softest and easiest ride possible. Whether the child was abducted or murdered in the apartment, these people with their PR campaign and globe trotting, are guilty of child neglect. So why don't you go and get all indignant about that, instead of blowing your stack about a video, which is emotive and manipulative, but probably needs to be to cut through the soft focus tip-toeing around the unfortunate facts surrounding this tragedy..

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