Friday, 1 November 2013

"It's a disaster," said Gerry McCann

Gerry and Kate McCann speaking at the Ocean Club Resort in Portugal the night after Madeleine disappeared: McCanns' friends angry as Portuguese police close Madeleine case

Kate and Gerry McCann speaking at the Ocean Club the night after Madeleine disappeared. 

This blog post has almost the same title as a very interesting one of today's date by the American profiler Pat Brown 

When Gerry McCann phoned his family on the night in which Madeleine disappeared, he told them, "It's a disaster," an expression which, to Pat Brown seems incongruous in describing the event of a child's disappearance. If Madeleine McCann died in an accident and her parents covered this up, as Pat Brown and many other people think, then it surely can't be described as "a disaster." A tsunami or other traumatic event on a grand scale, some out of control event, is a disaster, where there is a mess to clean up: an accident is not. 

I'm wondering too about Gerry McCann's use of the expression, "It's a disaster." When we describe some catastrophic event as a disaster, the "it," is the event. The tsunami, it's a disaster. So, what was the "it," that Gerry McCann was referring to? I agree with Pat Brown: whatever happened to Madeleine was not a disaster. An abduction, though I don't think Madeleine was abducted, is not a disaster. Devastating for the parents, but not a disaster. A child's death in an accident, tragic, heartbreaking for parents, but not a disaster. An accident, Pat Brown says, requires mourning: a disaster leaves a mess to clean up. 

But returning to Gerry McCann's words: "It's a disaster," I'd ask, "What's a disaster?" A plan where everything goes wrong can turn into a disaster, even if the plan is not for something on a grand scale. The performance of a play, where the actors fluff their lines, the props are in the wrong places and the music is badly played could be described as a disaster. And we often use the word in a more mundane way for something that's not a major event to anyone else, but just feels like it: my attempt at baking 100% rye bread ended in two brick-like objects hitting the bottom of the bin with a loud thud! What a disaster! The "what," here is my attempt to bake rye bread. 

But what was the "it," that Gerry McCann described as "a disaster."? Madeleine's disappearance? Everything was going swimmingly and then disaster struck? That doesn't make sense to me. We had all these plans and then, oh disaster! Madeleine's gone missing! This was not like my bread turning out like bricks: a child had vanished into thin air. Nor was it a disaster on a grand scale with a mess to clean up. 

If Madeleine had died in an accident and Kate and Gerry did indeed cover it up, then the "it," could refer to the plan put into action to cover up the tragic event and provide an alternative reason for Madeleine's being missing. But if Gerry had been communicating that the plan had gone awry and was a disaster, surely that might imply that the person he was speaking to knew that the "it," was the plan to cover up an accident? If indeed "it," was the plan, then as a Portuguese police officer said, it was "a badly told story," one that didn't ring true from the beginning: no jemmied shutter; no trace of an abductor in the apartment; no witness other than Jane Tanner's sighting of "Bundleman." 

We could actually decide that this was just another example of Gerry McCann's not being good with words! In an interview outside the court in Lisbon, Gerry McCann stated in an answer to a question, "We're not denying the existence of the dogs..." Well, that's good Gerry, because I may not have encountered these dogs in the flesh, as it were, but I have seen videos of them and they did look real to me! Then, there was Gerry's statement to the Leveson enquiry. "”I strongly believe in Freedom of Speech…I don’t have a problem with somebody purporting a theory…”

To purport: 1. To have or present the often false appearance of being or intending; profess: selfish behavior that purports to be altruistic.
2. To have the intention of doing; purpose.

So, no Gerry, somebody cannot purport to be a theory, or present the false appearance of a theory. They could purport to be somebody with a theory, or purport to have a theory, but not purport a theory. I think you meant... 

pro·pound (pr-pound)
tr.v. pro·pound·ed, pro·pound·ing, pro·pounds
To put forward for consideration; set forth..

So, Gerry may just have done another hatchet job on the English language, but maybe not. Could the "it," that was a disaster, have been the holiday itself? Whatever the holiday was planned for, if there had been a purpose other than an enjoyable family holiday, it was a disaster? Surely no one would describe the disappearance of a child being a disaster that ruined a holiday? But consider the holiday from the start until the events of Thursday May 3rd. In the video recorded on the airport bus on the way to Praia da Luz, Kate McCann is sitting with a little row of children, seemingly as far away as she could be from Gerry, who is sitting in a corner by himself, like a little boy on the naughty step. Gerry is reported as having said, "I'm not here to enjoy myself." Had sports loving Gerry just been told that he wasn't going to spend the whole week playing tennis and like the little boy who was told he had work to do first, he sarcastically stated that he wasn't there to enjoy himself? Disaster on day one for Gerry's plans!

And then what about the report from Mrs Fenn that she had heard a child crying one evening for almost two hours? Holiday not going too well! 

There have been suggestions that the McCanns' marriage had not been going too well before the holiday, and that the week away in Praia da Luz was time for them to be together in a relaxed environment, doing things together. So, when Gerry told his family, "It's a disaster," did the family member he spoke to understand that "it" was the plan for time together and that it had turned into a disaster because something had happened to Madeleine? Not a very happy start to the week away, time spent out there enjoying themselves had led to complaints about children crying and on one night Kate had slept apart from Gerry because of a row? And then something happened to Madeleine? The planned week of "us" time together had been a disaster from its start to the finish on the evening of May 3rd? We planned that, mum, and this is what happened? "It's a disaster."

"Bundleman," has been cleared of being involved in Madeleine McCann's disappearance, the McCanns withheld those e-fits of the man the Smith family reported seeing carrying a child, and now we have the finger pointing at a conveniently, it might be said, dead ex-employee of the Ocean Club. Well, I guess the finger is thus pointing away from the fact that the e-fits seem to look like Gerry McCann. 

What happened to Madeleine McCann? She wandered out looking for her parents and met with an accident? She was abducted by an opportunistic passing paedophile or a paedo who had been watching the family? She got out of bed and because she had been sedated (there was a star chart on the fridge freezer in the Rothley house, awarding Madeleine stars for staying in her own bed) she fell behind the sofa while trying to look out of the window? Tensions were running so high because one or both of the McCann parents had such high expectations of the holiday, that one of them lashed out at Madeleine and she fell behind the sofa, banging her head so badly that she died of her injuries? 

Just purporting a few theories! Either Gerry was erroneously purporting to be someone with a good command of the English language or "it" as in "it's a disaster," was the unforeseen circumstances of a chain of events during that holiday and, in my opinion, not simply a result of three small children being left alone. Not the result of someone entering the apartment and taking Madeleine. It happened, as Kate McCann stated, "under other circumstances."

With thanks to Pat Brown for a very thought-provoking blog! 


henry said...

Good post, very good read. Thanks...

... will it ever be resolved? Have too many people been compromised by their support for/acquiescence to the McCann machine?

AnnaEsse said...

Thanks Henry. I think the McCanns had serious financial difficulties before they went and that can often cause great stress in a relationship.

Anonymous said...

good piece. The timing of the declaration 'it's a disaster' is crucial. It was said the very same night of the disappearance. 'disaster' is so final, it's definitive and conclusive. It refers to an event. It was said so early - at this point people were still hoping for a happy conclusion and that the girl had simply wandered off .

If it had been said after a few days/weeks then it would have made more sense. It could have been referred to as a 'disaster' as 'it' could have referred to the 'process' ie police investigation, media presence etc.

The above can also be said of Kate's 'they've taken her'.

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AnnaEsse said...

Thanks Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Gerry actually said: fuck off, i'm not here to enjoy myself.

Anonymous said...

Woof Woof. 19309

AnnaEsse said...

Indeed Anonymous!