Anorak News | Madeleine McCann: Patronising Aisling Symes

Madeleine McCann: Patronising Aisling Symes

by | 9th, October 2009

15402660MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann – Aisling Symes is missing. Aisling Symes is aged 2. Aisling Symes has gone missing from an Aukland suburb on Monday.

And you know what this means?

Kate and Gerry McCann say their “thoughts and prayers” are with the family of Aisling Symes. We do our emoting in public. Private matters are public spectacles. And Our Maddie has been the biggest shared grief fest in years, a global campaign lapped up by a once objective media.

But it’s not about the McCanns is it? This is about Aisling Symes. Or is it useful for the McCanns to be involved, and thereby raise the child’s profile in the UK – the child that went missing in New Zealand? How can us knowing in the UK help find the child? It can”t. But the McCanns need to do something – doing anything is better than doing nothing.

But the media has become the whole message. Kate and Gerry McCann are now the media’s familiar voice for all missing children and the face of the bereft parents, speaking about other missing children whether the parents want them to or not.

A cynic might believe the disappearance of Aisling Symes is both a tragedy and an opportunity? The McCanns are Ailsing Syme’s media celebrities, joining the singers and footballers on the side of the good, a familiar and reassuring face.

When Mari Luz Cortes went missing in Spain, links were made to Our Maddie. She became Maddy 2. Posters went up. And:

Mari Luz’s father, Juan José Cortés, said after a meeting with Manuel Chaves, President of the Junta de Andalucía, this weekend, that, while he is not against collaborating in the search for Madeleine and ‘even helping to draw up a poster of all the missing youngsters,’ the lines of investigation into the disappearance of the two young girls are distinct, and are being carried out in two separate countries. EFE [Spanish news agency] said he is considering taking legal action for using his daughter’s image for the campaign.

Said the Sun: “Both girls were pictured on posters put up by four-year-old Maddie’s parents because the cases were so chillingly similar.”

But does a missing child story need a point of reference? Are we so cynical and cold that we cannot feel unless the face of Our Maddie is placed before us? And what does it say about us that we need the innocent and abused McCanns’ authentic victimhood to shape the story of a missing child, that media obsession?

The McCanns’ kind words tell us nothing about Ailsing Syme – they just say something about them. The footballer in the Our Maddie T-shirt, the mawkish politician in the yellow ribbon and the woman with the balloon say nothing about the missing – they speak only about themselves. They have a need to advertise their caring.

No-one sane cannot but sympathise with the McCanns, working to keep their daughter in the news in the belief that in doing so there is a better chance of her being found. And Madeleine McCann, as we’ve noted, is no longer the benchmark for missing children.

But do the McCanns’ comment make us care about them or their daughter more, or less? Does it make anyone look for Our Maddie with a keener eye? Or is their appearance at the media spectacle when a child goes missing now just part of the show? We look. It’s on the telly. We look. But it’s not real. It’s just another show on the magic box. We look.

Mr and Mrs McCann, say in a statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Aisling and her family. We wish Aisling’s parents the strength and support they will be needing at this most painful time, and we join them in hoping for Aisling’s safe and speedy return.

“We urge anyone who has any information about Aisling to come forward to the local police as soon as possible and end this family’s suffering.”

Says Sky News: “McCanns Pray For Parents Of Missing Girl.”

Even a person’s prayers are now part of the public spectacle to be featured in the media.

And instead of looking for a missing child the media is still watching the parents…

Posted: 9th, October 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann Comments (20) | TrackBack | Permalink