It seems that the world has gone gaga over the Madeleine McCann documentary dropping. The 8 part series chronicles the infamous case and brings back up some age-old questions, concerning the case and in general.
The show itself
Having watched a few episodes it is certainly interesting. The Madeleine McCann case is ingrained in the consciousness of most British people. It ranks right up there among the most enduring news stories of the modern era. It is a story that refuses to die and prompts wild debate. But why is that?
Why the interest?
Firstly the fact that Maddy is such a cute little girl means it hits home. I dare say if she had been an uglier child it might not have received the press it did. There is also the fact that it happened while on holiday. Most of us tend to feel pretty safe when we go on holidays. Especially if we are heading to tourist hotspots. Then there is the great debate over whether it was a kidnapping or something more insidious. There are a lot of people who believe that the story as told seems a little odd. It is this belief that leads to one of the strangest and most divisive elements of this case.
Usually, if there is a tragedy the jokes are reserved for Sickipedia and sharing in particularly risqué group chats. You know, the ones where you are confident that everyone else in the chat has a similarly warped sense of humour. However “Maddy jokes” are all over social media. This isn’t just recent either. I mean admittedly with the release of the documentary there has been a resurgence but jokes about the poor girl’s disappearance have been about since it happened. Why is it that some people think this is okay?
I think it ties in with the idea that the parents were involved somehow. I think in the minds of people that post this sort of material it is fair game because Kate and Gerry McCann are at best abysmal parents and at worst sold their child to traffickers or killed her and covered up the death depending on which conspiracy theory you adhere to. Therefore, at least to some people, they feel that it is justified making comments along these lines. A lot of people still find it abhorrent.
Some decorum, please
Here is the thing. Perhaps you are a parent yourself and you find the actions of Madeleine’s parents reprehensible. That is fair game. As a parent myself, I have made mistakes. The McCann’s errors were pretty monumental and they paid the ultimate price for them. Perhaps you feel that they deserve what happened to them (and maybe more) due to their negligence. The couple’s middle-class status and their wealth make them easier to dislike.
However, it is important to realise there is a very good chance that Madeline McCann is dead. The innocent child at the centre of the story, no matter how woeful her parents were she did not deserve what happened to her and there isn’t one scenario that meant a happy life for her. If she was kidnapped, or if her parents are responsible for her disappearance or if she just wandered off. It doesn’t matter, really. That poor girl is probably dead. And in the same way as the recent case of “IS bride” Shamima Begum while we may not like her as a person, ultimately it is a poor innocent child that suffered. While you might not care about her feelings shouldn’t we at least take a moment to spare a thought for an innocent life lost?