There are two things which have really wound me up on the Internet over the last few months. One of them is Brexit (let’s not even go there), and the other one is Madeleine McCann. The subjects themselves are emotive enough, but what has really got my back up is reading people’s views and opinions on each matter. They have made me cry actual tears of frustration to the point where I’ve wanted to hurl my laptop/phone at the wall in anger.
The most recent cause of my disgruntlement has been an article doing the rounds again on Facebook. It was written back in February by probably the most hated woman in Britain (I can’t actually bring myself to type her name) who writes for the Daily Fail and looks like a horse.
In it she stated, among other things, that Kate and Gerry need to stop looking for Madeleine and just let her go. Bloody hell. You can’t just let go of your child! Parents share an indestructible bond with their children, especially mothers, that you can’t simply just cut off. If it was Molly that was missing I would look for her every hour of every day until the day I died, even if the entire world told me to stop. While she is still missing, there is still hope, something Kate and Gerry state on their website.
This partiular article was shared on Facebook with most people actually agreeing with her. I read comments like ‘they killed Madeleine’, or ‘there’s more to this story that they’re not telling us’, or ‘they deserve everything they get’.
When Madeleine first disappeared back in 2007 I was exactly the same. When I heard that they had left their children alone I pretty much shrugged them off thinking ‘well what did they expect?’ That all changed though when I became a mother myself and after I read Kate McCann’s book ‘Madeleine’.
Some parents completely let their guards down whilst on holiday with their children. Everyone deserves a decent break away every year to somewhere nice and hot, away from the gloomy UK weather and the sometimes mundane routine of day to day life.
Some people, however, think that being a parent stops the minute they step off the plane. That they’ve got a green light to get as pissed as they like every day and night because they’re on holiday, whether the kids are there are not. I have seen this first hand.
We went to Mallorca in May and stayed in an all-inclusive, family orientated resort. I witnessed mums and dads drinking all day around the pool while their kids played unsupervised in the water.
One guy stumbled around as he attempted to sooth a crying baby who was clearly too hot, with a fag hanging out of his mouth.
I saw kids trying to climb over the guard rail on balconies on the fourth floor. The worst time was during the evening entertainment though. While most adults were sat at the tables oblivious to everything around them and downing drink after drink, their kids were running wild, sometimes down by the pool, sometimes by the entrance to the hotel which was next to a very busy road.
Any screams would have been drowned out by the loud music and they would have been none the wiser. My own partner made a massive mistake too…
He had taken Molly up to the bar area to get her an ice cream while I stayed at the table. It was evening time and the place was packed. This is where being a super anxious mum paid off, as I was hyper vigilant on holiday.
I watched John as he led her up to the bar by her hand, and I also watched as he bumped into a guy he knew and started talking to him while simultaneously letting go of it!
Molly started to wander about, John completely unaware, at which point I flew out of my seat. I actually ran past him, grabbed Molly’s hand, took her to get an ice cream, walked past John again and brought her back to the table. He still didn’t notice!!!
After 5 minutes of talking to that guy he finally said goodbye and looked down to find that, obviously, Molly wasn’t there.
I watched his face drop, he turned white as a ghost, and I let him. I wanted him to feel that panic and remember that feeling forever because I couldn’t believe how irresponsible he had been.
He started running up and down screaming her name. He ran down to the pool which was directly below the bloody bar where she could easily have fallen in. He ran back up and finally looked at me with tears in his eyes at which point i mouthed ‘she’s here’.
He was shaking and crying when he got to us, but all I could say was “that’s how bloody easy it is”! And he hadn’t even had a drink!
We make judgements as parents every day, most of the time in the blink of an eye, and they’re not always the right ones. I will never agree with the fact that Kate and Gerry left their children alone in an apartment while they went out for a meal, that is something I would never do.
However, as Kate states in her book, she actually felt that they were safe. She believed, along with her husband and all the other adults in their group who had also left their children alone, that nothing would happen in a gated, secure holiday complex.
These are professional, responsible adults, they’re not teenagers who had kids too young and decided to piss off clubbing for the night. They made a decision, albeit a bad one, but I don’t believe they wilfully neglected their children.
The apartments were in clear view of the restaurant and they were checked on every half hour. I’m not saying it’s right, what I’m saying is that they felt comfortable enough in that atmosphere, with their guards down, to leave them. They believed that the children were perfectly safe, and as they had done this for three or four nights during the holiday with nothing bad occurring, they carried on doing it.
Abduction was the last thing on their minds. Little did they know that they were being watched. Their consistent half-hourly checks were ultimately their undoing. Kate also didn’t realise until that fateful night that the windows could be opened from the outside. She never would have left them alone otherwise. The consequence of that lack of judgement is now all too painfully apparent, and they are paying the ultimate price.
What amazes me is how controlling the media are in this country. Our trashy tabloids can make up any old bullshit and just like that the masses are brainwashed…it must be true, I read it in black and white!
The Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster is a prime example of how damaging it can be. At first the media were on the McCann’s side, after all this was a major story, and everyone just wanted Madeleine to be found. However, as time went on, and the unbelievably incompetent Portugese police still had nothing to go on, everyone turned on them.
To cover up their own failings (not securing the crime scene, not interviewing potential witnesses, not putting out an alert for a missing child to name but a few) the police pointed their dirty fingers at the parents, and our media lapped it up.
They also failed to mention that there were reports in the previous weeks of men breaking into holiday apartments and getting into bed with children! Again, the police never followed these up.
In the absence of the best headline anyone could wish for i.e. Madeleine being found, this was the next best thing…‘BREAKING NEWS…The parents did it’! The amount of lies that were spread about the McCanns (they drugged their children/they murdered Madeleine and buried her in the mountains etc) was just unbelievable.
All of these have been discussed and discounted in Kate’s book by the way. However, mud sticks, and instantly they became public enemy number 1.
What annoys me the most about social media, especially Facebook, is that people would rather believe a ridiculous made up meme, or a one-line quote created by some geek in their bedroom, than actual facts.
What’s worrying is that anyone can make up anything they want, and thousands, even millions of people will fall for it. Facebook is the modern day version of a lynch mob, with people blindly believing any old codswallop, ‘liking’ and sharing pictures that anyone with half a brain cell can knock up in 5 minutes with Photoshop.
I think the most ridiculous one I have come across relating to this case was a picture of Gerry next to a picture of the man suspected of taking Maddy saying ‘coincidence’?!!! Honestly. If people actually did a tiny bit of research (it’s not hard, just use Google more instead of Facebook, or, shock horror, read an actual book) they would uncover the truth, not just a pack of lies pasted on to a fake photograph.
But that’s much too hard though isn’t it?! I’m all for lively debate and people expressing their opinions, but please just base your arguments on facts and not bullshit!
Think back to the worst mistake you ever made, or your biggest regret. I bet it still fills you with dread every time you think about it right? So you try to block it out of your mind and move on.
Now imagine that people remind you of that mistake every single day of your life without fail. How fucking awful would that be? That is the precise reason I fully support the McCann’s.
Yes they made a huge mistake, but they are paying for it, bitterly, every single day of their lives. The image that Kate says haunts her is of Maddie first waking up and seeing a stranger instead of her own mum and dad. If that isn’t enough punishment I don’t know what is.
We can sit around all day and point out people’s wrong doings (we’d be here all day with mine), but what the hell is productive about that? I don’t remind John every day of the mistake he made on holiday, because he’s learned his lesson.
The actual real crime that was committed on that night in Praia da Luz was of a man breaking into an apartment and taking a sleeping child from her bed. A man who has pretty much gotten away with murder because everyone else is far too busy having a go at the parents. Poor Maddie didn’t stand a chance.
Another thing the McCanns have been criticised for is for using tax payer’s money and constantly being in the public eye. My god, if it was my daughter that was missing I would beg, steal and borrow to make sure her face was plastered over every newspaper in the world…the public would be sick of the sight of me!
And if I had a choice over whether my hard earned tax money was spent on looking for a missing child or funding MP’s expenses/bailing out arrogant bankers/paying for bone idle benefit cheats who would rather sit on their ass than get a job, I know which one I’d choose!
It took me ages to pluck up the courage to actually read Kate’s book. A missing child really is every parent’s worst nightmare. As a mum I felt it so acutely, I actually winced one or two times, hoping that if I stopped reading then Madeleine would be safe.
But it did happen. A tiny 3 year old girl was snatched from her bed in the middle of the night, and Kate’s heart will forever be broken. Not only does she have to live with the endless images of what her daughter might be going through day in and day out, she also has to endure the never ending onslaught of abuse by complete strangers.
I’m glad I read the book, it completely changed my opinion and I discovered actual facts about the investigation that were never published in the media. Also all the royalties are donated to Madeleine’s fund so in a small way I feel like I’ve helped.
No matter what people’s opinions are of the McCanns, I would hope that everyone agrees that no parent should have to endure that amount of torment and heartache, and that they deserve to know what happened to Madeleine, either way.
I fully support their continuing search for their daughter and commend them for never giving up, after all, what’s the point in living if you never have hope?