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The enemies of truth: By Anne Guedes


The enemies of truth

 It is too late for Madeleine. Today it has likely been too late for eleven years. Everyone will agree  time has gone by, even those who believe or hope that this young person is alive somewhere, almost 15 years old, resilient hence bound to be fine.


Seven years ago, Operation Grange was commissioned to search for her, a task which entailed a review of the whole of the investigation. DCI Andy Redwood claimed there was a good chance she was alive and could be found. What then sounded like wishful thinking (at least for those who found the PJ had done a good job), today sounds like an obsolete dream, like looking for comfort instead of looking for truth. OG’s lofty goal might be falling apart. However desisting wouldn’t be acceptable, as too many expectations have been created and kept alive through the recurrent mention of a last but decisive lead

OG perhaps would better set another goal, certainly not less worthy, which would allow restoring the confidence of the public in the reputation and integrity of an institution that has been considered as the best of the planet, the Yard.

Putting himself in the firing line one year ago, AC Mark Rowley said too much or not enough. Notwithstanding that he stated they are happy that (the involvement of the parents) was all dealt with (by the Portuguese) and there is no reason whatsoever to reopen that, there is precisely a good reason to reopen that. What is alluded to here are just convictions and Nietzsche taught us that they are more dangerous enemies for truth than lies (Human, all too Human). Beliefs have had their day, like Thomas people need to be assured that those are not just words, words, words. Beyond the case itself, the issue is to repair the tear in the social fabric that misinformation and disinformation have created, thus a pretty serious issue.


It is too late for Madeleine. Instead of perpetuating the impossible mission of proving what happened, after attempting to find a plausible abductor, OG would turn the situation to its advantage by soberly exposing the basis of its conviction about what didn’t happen and why it didn’t. On this depends also the serenity of Madeleine's brother and sister on the threshold of adolescence.

When, because his request of reconstitution failed, the public prosecutor lamented the McCanns lost an opportunity to prove their innocence, he worried they might have swapped the embarrassment of a moment against a sword of Damocles, a delicate situation against the wrath of public opinion, a transitory embarrassment against an eternal doubt. All they could hope for was that time would gradually build indifference in the public, switching off the limelight, counting on ignorance to force facts into none-existence.

Oblivion nevertheless requires leaving the media scene on tiptoe. Apparently more thirsty for secular respectability than for timeless beatitude, or confident in their ability through praying to find some accommodation with heaven, Gerald and Kate McCann yearn above all, but without giving themselves the means, for the public recognition that they played no key role in the disappearance of their daughter.

It is in this sense that the establishment of Operation Grange has freed their shoulders from a huge burden. They were able to turn a noxious page that had brought them only disappointment  and  cost a lot to Madeleine’s Fund with no result. The public reckoned that this Ltd did not fulfil its promises, more concerned with reputation management than searching for Madeleine, as evidenced by the  recruitment of various individuals essentially experts in filching, not even in magic tricks. 


It is too late for Madeleine. The political decision to set up Operation Grange could possibly no longer stand firm against the lack of findings, therefore this official hint of innocence might not last for ever and the McCanns know it. While passing years seem to penalize the Met, perhaps entrapping itself, perhaps caught in the grip of unthought-of credulity, could those years serve the coveted conquest of dignity ?

The more the Met investigates Madeleine’s disappearance, the more her parents are provided with a feed back of respectability. Would the Home Office invest the taxpayers' money and the Met put his high-flying police officers in a case where the dice are loaded from the start ?

If the cause and the manner of the disappearance which occurred on May 3 2007 in Praia da Luz are far from being clear and risk to remain so, it should however be feasible to demonstrate positively, and not any more by default or thanks to conviction, that the parents played no part in their daughter's sad destiny. Not only those who, through compassion, took their word for it, supported their campaigns with donations and searched for their child, many wish to be sure that OG does a fair and unbiased investigation and that getting to the truth, whether dreadful or just dreary, is the real objective.

Here everyone would be a winner, starting with Madeleine's parents and relatives. Taxpayers wonder more and more, and reasonably, if OG's work is justified, if their money is not spent in vain and if they are not confronted to a modern version of the myth of Sisyphus, here condemned to turn the same stone until the end of time.  


It is too late for Madeleine. The highest court of the country holding the jurisdiction over the case paved the way a year ago. The initiative of the lawsuit belonged to the McCanns, the judges couldn't but cast doubt on their narrative as did the Public Ministry in a filing order that unfortunately was spun in the media into a confirmation of innocence, hence into a presumption of kidnapping.

Sometimes judges must take a decision with a heavy heart, because what is at stake isn't the absolute truth, it is the judicial one. Thankfully the institutions of justice are placed under that seal in our democratic societies. The judges know well that the exact reality of human actions, their unfolding and their consequences escape perfect comprehension and understanding. They also have no doubt that truth is mysterious, fleeting and always to conquer.

Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, said C.G. Jung, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.


May 3, 2018


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