By Shawna Healey
Like many people, I was taken in by the anticipation surrounding the new Netflix documentary concerning the then-3-year-old Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in Portugal back in 2007.
About midway through the fourth episode, however, I couldn’t help but feel increasingly uncomfortable. Where is the justice for Madeline? While the documentary is undoubtedly interesting, tracing the sequence of events leading to Madeleine’s disappearance fairly well, it seems to serve little purpose other than adding more fuel to the fire of conspiracy theory.
We are all so obsessed with the ‘case of Madeline McCann’ that it has turned into a conspiracy theory, a “who did it?”.
It seems that everyone is so obsessed with the idea of knowing what happened that Maddie herself has become lost in her own disappearance case.
Maddie deserves justice. Maddie deserves the truth to be uncovered, but sensitively. The way the British media have covered the case comes down to scaremongering and sensationalising – pointing the finger at anyone they can in order to make easy money, circling like vultures around Madeleine’s disappearance, craving a clear beginning, middle and end, complete with an evil villain and captivating plot-twists. The coverage was devoid of dignity, and those responsible should be ashamed of themselves.
At the time of writing, the whereabouts of Madeleine is still unknown, despite Portuguese and British police’s best efforts – and, of course, the media’s. The care generates theory after theory, and time may or may not tell which, if any, are true. One thing remains undeniable, however – that Maddie deserves to be remembered with respect and dignity.
We simply don’t know what happened to her, so before we create, read and share theories and ideas about what happened, we must remember that we weren’t there and don’t know the people involved, and that documentaries such as The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, with which the McCanns declined to be involved, cannot tell us the whole truth.
The fear of the unknown is arguably more frightening than the fear of the familiar, which is perhaps why it’s easier to point the finger at Madeline’s parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, than to some unknown evil that’s still out there. We must remember, however, that what is at stake in cases such as this is not truth for its own sake, but the life of an innocent child.