Madeleine McCann gets dragged into the Amanda Berry story – Charlene Downs and Ben Needham are ignored
THE story of Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus’s escape from a suburban prison is made made relevant to a British audience by the mention of missing child Madeleine McCann, the benchmark of not only missing children but now of all missing teenagers and women, too.
Alison Philips writes in the Mirror:
Inspiring mothers who fought for missing daughters keep hope of Madeleine McCann miracle alive
A miracle is a happening so incredible is must be the work of God.
The discovery of three women held captive in a house for 10 years can only have reignited hope Madeleine may one day be found.
Indeed, Gina DeJesus’s aunt Sandra Ruiz said: “If you don’t believe in miracles, I suggest you think again.”
From the perspective of the missing women’s loved one their reappearance after ten years of nothing must seem like a miracle. But from the victims’ viewpoint, it must be anything but. They endured captivity at the hands of three men.
What happened to Madeleine McCann remains a mystery. When she vanished, the Mirror conjured six theories, none of which involved the supernatural or God. The Mirror’s six theories of what happened to the innocent child were: “PAEDOPHILE GANG”, the “LONE PAEDOPHILE”, the “JEALOUS MOTHER”, “DROWNED”, the “OPPORTUNIST PAEDOPHILE” and the “CHILDLESS COUPLE”.
Alison Philips then watches the parents:
Last weekend Kate McCann boarded a flight alone to return to Portugal where her daughter Madeleine was abducted almost exactly six years ago. She was going back to the spot where she lost her three-year-old daughter and to the moment she last saw her, tucked up in bed with Cuddle Cat.
Kate was also going back to where she lost her own life, the life she had before it became defined by loss forever. The pain of returning to that whitewashed town on the Algarve must be horrific.
And yet friends say Kate does it to feel close to Madeleine.
This is news, how?
Presumably immersing herself in the pain of her loss is preferable to that awful alternative – forgetting about her little girl. And Kate can’t do that. She more than anyone knows that she wasn’t there when her daughter needed her most.
So now she must fight for the rest of her life to ensure that if Madeleine is still alive, she knows her mother is there for her now.
That’s pretty brutal by Philips. isn’t it. She says Kate McCann’s search for her daughter is in part inspired by notions that she let her daughter down. How does that make Kate McCann an “inspiring mother” as the title to Philip’s piece states?
We don’t yet know Amanda Berry, 16, Gina DeJesus, then 14, and Michelle Knight, then 22, were kidnapped. But we do know they were out in public at the time.
Philips then speculates:
Even if she is dead, Kate’s job remains to keep her daughter’s memory alive because while memory remains, so does life.
In appearing to salute Kate McCann, Philips now says the tabloids’ Our Maddie might be dead. Theta’s the very thing the McCanns’ campaign to find her doesn’t want us to think.
Indeed Kate and Gerry said:
“The discovery of these young women reaffirms our hope of finding Madeleine, which has never diminished. Their recovery is also further evidence that children are sometimes abducted and kept for long periods. So we ask the public to remain vigilant in the ongoing search for Madeleine. Our thoughts are with the women in America and their families.”
But this is an opportunistic and wholly shallow article the intent of which is to fill space by linking events on Cleveland to British readers. Philips then writes:
And this week Kate’s pain must be even more acute as the discovery of three women held captive in an American house for 10 years can only have reignited hope that Madeleine may too one day be found.
The tabloids never say how such events give hope to Andrew Gosden’s parents, Charlene Downes’s loved ones or Ben Needham’s mother. The points of reference have been set. Madeleine McCann is the benchmark for all missing children.
Philips ploughs on:
Like Kate McCann, the mothers of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, had fought tirelessly to keep the stories of their missing daughters in the public eye in the hope that one day it might help bring them home.
Amanda Berry’s mother was led up the garden path by psychics. Gina DeJesus’s father campaigned tirelessly, marking the anniversary of her disappearance with a rally. We know next to nothing of Michelle Knight. Philips makes an assumption.
Gina DeJesus’ mother Nancy Ruiz had plastered posters of her missing daughter all around the neighbourhood after she went missing aged 14 as she walked home one day from school. One of the posters somehow made it into the home where she was chained up.
However bad her life must have been in that suburban dungeon – and it must have been horrific – there must have been some crumb of comfort for Gina knowing her mum was still looking for her, waiting for her to return.
Oh, please. The kidnapped teen got a crumb of comfort from a poster that points to what she didn’t have, what was ripped from her? That’s comforting? It sounds more like torture.
Just as Amanda Berry’s mother Louwana Miller scoured the streets for her daughter until she made herself sick and finally died, broken-hearted, seven years ago.
And that is why Kate McCann cannot give up her search, however painful it might be.
Even if it is the remotest chance, she has to ensure if Madeleine is alive she knows her mother is waiting for her.
How does she ensure what Madeleine knows that, then?
These mothers were all extraordinary in their own way in refusing to stop fighting for their missing daughters.
No. They were not ALL extraordinary. They did exactly what any rational, loving mother would be expected to if their child vanished. They are ordinary women thrust into extraordinary circumstances.
But in another way they were totally ordinary – isn’t it what any mother would hope to do in this situation? And that’s what is extraordinary about motherhood – the superhuman strength it gives to women.
Philips has thus managed to make the extraordinary story ordinary. Who dare say tabloids only deal in sensationalism?
“The nightmare is over,” Cleveland FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony said during a press conference yesterday in Ohio. For Kate McCann the nightmare goes on until she either dies herself or Madeleine is found.
Every day she must relive the nightmare for Madeleine, just as the mothers of Amanda, Gina and Michelle did for 10 years. In doing so, these dedicated women are an inspiration to mothers everywhere.
They inspire mothers to be, erm, ordinary?