Monday, May 14, 2007

Madeleine McCann

As with any other parent in the world, I suffer the same recurring nightmare - something happening to either of my children. Fortunately, to date, it has been exactly that - only a nightmare.

But for one family, that nightmare has become frighteningly and solidly real, and it is playing out across the airwaves on every news bulletin.

Ten days ago, 4 year-old Madeleine McCann was asleep in her bed with her parents, a short distance away, at a restaurant with friends, when someone broke into the holiday apartment and abducted her. Nothing has been seen of her since.

I have absolutely no idea how her parents are feeling at this moment. They must be totally devastated and destroyed inside, but day after day they soldier on, determined to carry the hope until that hope has gone. I'm sure I would be an emotional wreck within a very short space of time, my panic would be almost pathalogical!

How do they stop tearing themselves apart? If only they hadn't left her to go for a meal.... Already the criticism is being raised, and, with only the facts in the news to go on, it is an easy case to make.

However, I can understand, a little, the decision she took. Recently, we were in a holiday complex very similar to the place the McCann's were staying at. These complex's are very much a self-contained world with everything a person would want available on-site: restaurants, swimming pools, bars, entertainment, etc. and it is that inclusiveness that can lead to believing that the place is ultra safe - our complex even had its own security force that patrolled on a regular basis. I certainly didn't bat an eye-lid when my children went off and explored the site (I even encouraged it) with minimal warnings to danger - to me, there just didn't seem to be any danger! I know my children are older, but bad things can also happen to children of their age.

'Maddy's' parents still believe that their daughter is still alive and I'm hoping their faith will be answered. She is a beautiful and precious person (they all are at that age) and deserves to have her natural life back - now.


Jen said...

I cannot imagine the intense guilt her parents will live with for the rest of their lives. Will they also be brought up on charges of child neglect?

People need to wake up when they are on vacation. Living in Florida, I see travelers from all over the world here and many are just sitting ducks - naive, disoriented, lost... People are out there just waiting to take advantage of them whether to steal their money or worse.

Very sad. Heartbreaking.

sandegaye said...

Utterly heartbreaking!

Eddie said...

Hi Mark,
Sorry, but I must say what I feel;
You say that with only the facts reported in the news that it's easy to criticise the parents for leaving their children unattended.
As far as I'm concerned it IS really simple. Parents left 3 sleeping babies unattended in their holiday home and went for a meal in a restaurant 50 yards away, (in a straight line), more like 75 yards away around the intervening pool.
This despite the fact that the resort offered a baby-minding service.
For some reason, the press has declined to criticise these "professional" people, constantly offering them up for sympathy and, instead,criticising the Portugese police for their ineficiency.
I can't help but think that if they were manual workers, or unemployed, the attitude of the press would be vastly different,
it would probably be baying for their blood.
Let's hope the little girl is found safe and well and then let's decide what to do with these feckless parents and stop treating THEM as the victims.

Mentiroso said...

I have read many things about Madeleine’s unfortunate epopee. I live in Portugal and cannot escape all TV broadcasts made up of a case that improper backward third world reporters transform into some thing comparable to a photo blow-up. Some people, including corrupt politicians say that these reporters are very aggressive. Well, if you listened to their questions you would get the idea that their stupidity covers up their aggressiveness by large; as they never ask the right questions one ends up always without the really needed information. They are ill bread, yes, not appropriate professionals. Though, in a country where education courses are much below the European normal, they want to be called doctors. Yeah.

We must bear in mind that until quite recently Portugal was one of the most secure countries in Europe, something like UK in the fifties and most of the sixties. I know it by my own experience. However, something has changed through the last couple of decades. When Portugal entered the European Union – at the same time as Ireland did – started receiving the cohesion funds to allow a faster progress and levelling with the other European countries, these funds were not used as required, originating the present extreme backwardness, unproductively, poverty and wretched mentality. In fact, rotten and corrupt political clans, forming authentic oligarchies used maladministration and stole the funds, distributing the money among themselves, their friends and whoever would corrupt those who administrated the funds. This was in clear opposition to what happened in Ireland, as well as with other countries that could make their way as expected.

The short description in the last paragraph is meant only to help understanding that what goes on in Portugal today involves and shapes everything, including the police on Madeline’s case. A more detailed description can be read at (even more detailed without /eu, but in Portuguese) and includes how the European union covers up and admits corruption, even when it concerns abuse and spoiling the money of the honest tax paying citizens from countries contributing to the funds. The EU consents corrupt governments on maladministration and stealing of the European funds.

Not only police is not able to deal with many cases, as they do not even behave as civilized, as can be read on the reports of every Human Rights organisation. Just search the Internet and read. They kill people in their headquarters during investigation hearings led very much in an inquisition style. A few years ago, a police chief decapitated a man during a hearing. The head was later found and the police chief tried in court and condemned. Nevertheless, it happens. The renowned behaviour and incapacity of the police forces is a fact, however obviously not of their own fault. For over three decades, highly corrupt governments have never had the necessary care to educate, prepare, instruct, and train the police staff to do their jobs decently and efficiently. Owing to the fact that Portugal was a safe country, they just did not care at all.

Under these circumstances, only people not acquainted with the hard reality will believe that they will ever find Madeleine’s track. If they ever find anything, that will be only owing to outside help.

On 14th May, there was a program on the national public TV, RTP1, a talk about Madeleine’s case. One of the participants was the reporter António Esteves Martins. He has been an RTP reporter for quite some time. Probably, common people from other countries do not know or never heard about him – he is never seen on other countries TV, of course – but his colleagues from the European countries he goes constantly to on his permanent work surely do. He reports from almost everywhere in Europe, therefore well known to his local colleagues. He has the bad practice of regularly criticizing the countries from where he reports, putting on a face of despite. Well, on the 14th he did not miss the opportunity to vomit all his loathing on the UK about almost everything he could connect to Madeleine’s case. For him, the British police is unable to do its job. The British police does not work the way he believes it should and should not communicate their investigations to reporters. After what happened that made the Portuguese people so backward, as mentioned above, he still insists that they are better than everyone, always depreciating all others. For him the UK is full of child abusers and the police are unable to catch them; the British police does not solve any case. I believe that his colleagues who know him should explain his behaviour to the peoples of their respective countries. The stupid guy also spoke evilly about a Swiss lady who told him that Portugal is a nest of general corruption, as if she were saying anything that no one knows either in the country or out. He dismissed everything and spoke about the lady as if she were the devil. However, most people know about this fact today. I have lived in other European countries and could notice how the nationals progressively changed their opinion when the new Portuguese immigrants started arriving with their new mentalities, backwardness, and corrupt behaviour.

After all this, and remembering that the Portuguese police missed so many required procedures at the first hours and days that followed the disappearance of little Madeleine, right when they were most important, I repeat, I do not believe that they will ever find her. They missed too many opportunities, like dismissing information from national citizens at the beginning, but listening to the same information over a week later when it came from a British citizen, too late. They did not alert the marine or the border police or call the press trying to spread the word early, no door-to-door inquiries, did not secure the scene properly, a big nothing, as usually, at the most important time. They shut up all information. When they woke up and started in a more serious fashion, surely the child was already out of the country (about one hour is enough to cross the border from where Madeleine was). If they have never found any missing child up to date, why should they find Madeleine now? All they finally did was under the pressure of British police and press. They have never done so much in their history, not at least with the many unsolved cases of disappeared national children. They are unable on their jobs. No education, no preparation, no instruction, no training, nothing – not their fault, but real. After all, they are always too late on everything, just like the government and everyone else in the country. Lazy people, the judges only “solve” one half of the cases their European colleagues do, the others they close without any investigation. Generalized corruption, mainly at the highest levels of governments has turned this country into the dirtiest sewer of Europe, worse than most third world nations.

Don’t you think you should spread the truth and try to end up with hypocrisy?

Mark said...

mentiroso: You are very welcome, and I found your comments interesting - particularly your views on present day Portugal. Obviously, I don't feel confident in commenting on what you say, but clearly you feel tha mistakes were made at a very early stage for whatever reason, and in that I think you are probably correct.

As for my 'sympathy' for the parents, I should have been a little more clear, and I am with you on this one Eddie. We took are children with us on holiday when they were young and I don't think they were ever further than a few feet from one or either of us at any time - it just wouldn't cross our minds to leave them for a moment, and I just don't understand how the McCanns could have done that. The only point I was making is that these complex's do, on the surface, seem very safe, and could possibly lull the unwary into a false sense of security. The bottom line here is that the little girl is missing due to the inattention of the parents and that is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

Mentiroso said...

Thank you very much for your warm welcome. From what I can read, it seems that you live in a very beautiful and interesting place. I wish you’ll enjoy your walk on Sunday.

I would like to have a ward about Eddie’s comment. As I have written on my text about Maddy, times have changed. It was not so many years ago when people could and did leave children on their carts(?) right outside supermarkets. To my knowledgeiIt happened in Portugal and also at least in Denmark and Switzerland. However, because everything changes, Maddy’s parents erred and should have been wiser, not leaving their children alone for a moment. This does not excuse the way the investigations have followed or whatever the reporters say. Apart from what I wrote, the later demolish completely anyone under investigation.

Unfortunately, Madeleine’s case is as I wrote in what concerns the Portuguese police. Please forgive me for having posted such a long comment on tour blog. It is not easy telling well-meaning people things they do not know or have wrongly formed ideas. Or ancient ones, for that matter, because things do in time change as the world goes round, and not always for the best. To go around this problem of the long text, I have added a new page to my site today. It is almost what I wrote on tour blog, but there are many other pages there, some of them have been there for ages. We can foresee many things when we have watched examples. Also this is not so difficult for an outsider as I have been to my country in decades. The site is almost divided, and until a few weeks ago, its two parts didn’t even have any connection at all. If you happen to waste some time going there, try the links down the pages to get to the other side, where the most interesting page is!, but the texts are boring because they are very long. I know the automatic translations are very bad, and sometimes we can’t even get the full idea… Furthermore, when clicking on the links to jump to other pages we get a not existing address because Google adds the translation prefix to the new page and this is wrong. Wehave to click on the “Back” button of the browser first, and then on the link of the original language page. Rather complicated.

This is the new page about Maddy:
Sorry for the annoying ads, but with them the site is complete free.