The conscience of a people is based on what was its history, on its customs. One people has specific characteristics that distinguish it from the others, and normally there is an accepted division among the people of Europe, into the Northern, the Eastern and the Southern. The ‘Portuguese people’ belongs to the latter category.
With their soft customs, peaceful, proud, solidary, passionate, and sometimes a bit selfish, the conscience of this people was awakened by the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Curiously, it had not been awakened, or not in this way, by Joana Cipriano Guerreiro or by Rui Pedro, or even by Rui Pereira or Claudia or Ana Sofia, among others.
Voyeurism, we all know, is an obligatory condiment for any national media receipt, but it does not justify everything. From early on, the people have felt solidary with the loss that those parents had suffered. So had the policemen. They forgot that they cannot have feelings in these cases, but as they are only human, they make mistakes. They make mistakes and they will continue to make them, just as courts will make mistakes with their sentences, prosecutors will make mistakes with their accusations. They make mistakes because they make decisions, and only those who make them are entitled to the displeasure of, at a given moment, verifying that the route that they have taken was not the correct one. It is most serious when the mistakes do not allow for Justice to be corrected anymore.
Excessively and exhaustively covered by the media, this disappearance took over the lives of people and many identified with the pain of Gerry and Kate, who on the other hand called all possible attention upon themselves.
Everything was scrutinized into the smallest detail, and the constant following of the process by the media lead to breaks of the judicial secrecy, and inevitably some details of the process were made public. With daily revelations about the developments, the McCann family started a steep decline in the public opinion, and lost the national support that they had enjoyed. They then opted to return to England, turning their backs on those who had supported them so intensely and unconditionally.
For this people, that still believes in Justice and that was genuinely solidary with the McCanns, this attitude, right after they had been made arguidos, was a stab of a knife into their back. For this people, they should have stayed at least until the lab test results were known, and then they would make a decision. Instead, for the moment that they chose, for what had happened two days earlier, for the silent preparation, and for the way that it was done, the Portuguese people think that the McCanns have fled Justice.
When they returned home, we realized that these same characters that had been all the rage all over the world, if it wasn’t for the journalists that were gathered at the door of their so comfortable residence, had nobody waiting for them except for a few relatives.
The Northern people are different, more closed upon themselves and maybe also less colorful. Or at least that is the general notion that we have of them, as for those of us who deal with them every summer, that is not exactly the impression that the British leave behind. Maybe another one, rather close to the opposite, of some excesses and some haughtiness…
We could conclude that there are no better or worse people, just different ways to approach and deal with the situations. That is difference. Every country has its circumstances, its people, its culture, and that largely determines the way that they relate with one another, and with others.
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