Wednesday, 4 May 2011

4 years on and it still sucks. Big time.

It has been four years since Madeleine McCann was snatched from her hotel bed in Portugal. Four years and I still get really upset thinking about it. 

There is a huge number of horrible events happening in this world every minute. And, of course, it is not surprising that it simply is not physically possible for us to focus on every single one of them. I know that picking one little girl out of the sea of other missing, abused or murdered children is, probably, a little unfair. 

You might argue that it was because the media made this particular story so personal, I reacted this way. Or maybe, it was the fact that it was a British middle-class family, just like ours, just like anyone I know around me, that brought it so close to home. But the truth is... nothing I saw in the news for an awfully long time affected me so deeply- for whatever reasons, logical or not.

I have to confess that, four years ago, when I first heard of the story, I cried an awful lot. It would always happen unexpectedly, like when I was driving to work. An image or a thought would just crush into my mind like a truck. I would see this 4-year old child peacefully sleeping in her PJ’s in bed when someone just walks in and takes her away, while her parents enjoy their relaxing dinner only yards away.

Obviously, I was not always this sensitive. In fact, I mentioned to you some time ago that I enjoy dark jokes. Some of the jokes I used to laugh at were pretty sick, and a few were about paedophiles.  I thought they were hysterical. No need to say, it is somewhat different nowadays. Becoming a mother changed something in my head. At first, I blamed the hormones. I thought I would go back to normal self after a while. But now, 4 years on, as I still get just as disturbed and upset seeing that face in the news, I realize this sensitivity for certain topics is here to stay.

I was reading this popular book recently. Room. The author said it was triggered by the Fritzl case.
And I kept thinking that, despite my logic telling me that the chance of McCanns finding their daughter alive is very slim, I desperately wish that they do. I cannot even imagine what life must be like for that family, whether it has been 4 years or 40.  So now, all of you who have faith in God. Come on then. Do some praying. I would if I could. Only I don’t see how any God who had allowed something like this to happen in the first place, would care enough to listen to you now. But hey, worth a try anyway, eh.


  1. It is truly a sad story, when i heard first time it did really deeply moved me.Still i can not dare even think or imagine how awful parents must feel after 4 years on no sign of their child.Although when is though, it seems rather slim chances they have ever to see their precious daughter, deep down would like to hope and try to pray for them!

  2. Curious thing: just the other day I was thinking about Madeleine, even though I wasn't aware of the exact date she disappear.
    I thought about each person who has a story without closure. The eternal doubt of what happened to someone we love has to be way much worse than the certainty of a death, as terrible as the latter may be.

  3. Yes - I was super depressed when it happened, and I knew the friends who were with them on holiday at the time. I still think about it alot, and as you say, in a more profound way now that I am a mother too. I cannot imagine the unending, unknowing agony the McCanns are going through, never knowing, all the time the chances of ever knowing diminishing.....

  4. @Gabriela: I totally agree. I was just saying the same thing on FB. I think not knowing and living with a strong chance of never finding out is the worst thing that could have happened to them.

    @Sharon: Yes...But there have been cases when the relatives do find out, even if it is some awful discovery...after many years.

  5. It's very strange, but I too have found myself thinking about Madeleine and her family quite a lot lately. What’s most peculiar is that my thoughts occur completely randomly, when biking, jogging, or during a lecture, which make me think if there is some sort of a "double consciousness" within me (maybe all of us?).

    I remember the first time I heard about the McCanns, when I was listening to a BBC podcast some few years ago. They were talking about their loss, and I remember how I connected I felt to both of them that hour, and how I wished I could do more than just donate money.

    To me it was a ground shaking feeling, because as a young adult, with no children, and no history of particularly close relations with family (nuclear or extended) or friends, I have never felt that way before; and being a non-theist and a buddhist, I begin to believe that there is some sort of a subtle interconnectedness between all, that can cut through even the most unemotional of beings like me.


  6. @JahT: That is interesting, that you say you were affected by the story, despite all the personal circumstances. You might be more emotional than you think. I have to admit I never was this way before I had my daughter. Sadly, the UK newspapers are always filled with gruesome stories about kids- murdered, raped, kidnapped.... I always read them, felt sorry... but never before felt this sad.

  7. @ Scary,

    I think that in my case, it had partially to do with my background, the society that I was raised in and my own ignorance.

    I don't know if you have ever seen a film called "American Beauty" by Sam Mendes, but if you have, you may remember the background of a boy called Ricky (who sold marijuana to Lester - the protagonist). Well, I never did or sold drugs, but my upbringing was very close to Ricky's; and as the only son, I was expected to be the "lieutenant colonel" of the house, and it was this very upbringing (in which I had to survive and, still, stay myself) that I believe had made me so reserved.

    As you have pointed out, the ads of missing children, murdered civilians, killed soldiers, etc, are prowling at us from every corner . Those are the numbers, that can not speak, or show, or care, and, so, in my mind (and I suspect in yours too) they have joined the rows of other digits, like phone numbers, and deadlines, and bills, and gas prices, and national budget deficits…and so, in this march, they have essentially lost all their meaning…

    But it was only after I had been away from home, and had allowed myself to immerse completely into the tragedy of one family, that my eyes and mind have been opened, and for the first time in my life, I had realized just how vast and deep a single number "1" can be.


  8. @JahT: Absolutely, yes.
    Stalin, as you might know, famously was quoted to have said something like the death of one is a tragedy the death of a million is a statistic. Even though they reckon he never said that, it still makes sense.
    Yes, seen the American Beauty, very good.