Thursday, May 17, 2007

Madeleine

I like to keep this blog as an advertising-free zone and also as a refuge from the noise of the mass media with their obsessions with, in England say, the problems of the government, the Arab-Israeli conflicts, celebrity news and the like. However, I thought I might as well remark on the attention given to the little girl, Madeline who has gone missing in Portugal.

I have not been watching the news too much recently, but I have seen Madeline's name popping up all over the place on the internet. My Mum had told me that she had written to the BBC maybe a week ago to complain about the amount of attention being given ot this one missing girl by the BBC. And yesterday, I switched onto the main news at 11.10 and was shocked to find that the main news presenter was presenting the news from somewhere in Portugal. He was interviewing some person involved, the cousin of a man who has been arrested as a suspect. She was assuring us that her cousin would not have had anything to do with any sort of abduction. Then we heard from a reporter who told us that a Russian man had been taken away in a place car and had just at that minute arrived in the nearest biggets town. He also told us that the parents of little Madeleine had been seen walking on the beach near where she was last seen. Then we cut back to London, where they showed shots of politicians getting involved, people out on the streets marching, the girl's Scottish aunty being interviewed, famous footballers making appeals and so on. It was 11.16 by now and they were still talking about Madeline and I wondered how much had I missed before I had switched on.

This was followed by 4 minutes on the accession of Alex Salmond as First Minister of Scotland, the first nationalist to hold high office up there. Left to him, we might see the United Kingdom broken up. Less important than the disappearance of a sweet looking girl with beautiful eyes?

It seems that society needs every now and then an opportunity for emotional outpouring. An obsession which can absorb them. I think this might be the secret behind all the crying Madonnas in places like Italy. I suppose one question is the extent to which the media such as the BBC create such an obsession by giving so much coverage to one incident or whether they are just reflecting society's interest in the issue?

What I find a little shocking about the details of the case is that Madeleine disappeared from her bedroom (in Portugal) while her parents ate at a 'local' tapas restaurant. In other words, they had left a four year old on her own in a strange house in a strange country!!!!! Yet nobody seems to think there is anything wrong with this. My goodness!

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