A beautiful and moving post by Astro:
On May 4, 2007, in the early morning, the old lady at the grocery around the corner sent me on a trip like I never imagined was even possible.
1024 days have passed.
On most of those days, I have questioned myself about what the heck I thought I was doing.
I have lost what was left of my innocence. I have spent time and money that I did not have in excess to start with. I have spent thousands of hours online. I have met dozens of people, talked about the case with them for hours on end. I have translated - and written - hundreds of thousands of words. I have cried a bit and laughed a lot and wrecked my brain over this case.
I have searched for Madeleine, I have felt for the parents, I have believed them. I have questioned my beliefs, my conclusions, my very capability of reasoning. I have been in dark places, in my mind. I have, I hope, shed some light on some subjects.
I have sent two daughters to university, I have lost an adored uncle and a beloved father-in-law. I have acquired a dog and sent a son to kindergarden - the fifth time still feels like the very first one. I have moved house, I have adapted myself to new jobs.
I have found new friends, I have found a soulmate, I have found a cause. I have stayed up late and gotten up early and day after day after day, I have followed every twist and every turn of this case. I've been on blogs and forums and message boards and social networks and sometimes I don't know why I'm doing all of this.
I've been privileged enough to meet some of the persons that are pivotal to this case. I have been even more privileged and I know that, in a small way, I have actually contributed to the development of this case. I have been threatened and apparently exposed, I have been afraid and I have been tempted to quit, because I have a family that I cherish above everything else, and they have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this.
I have been happy, I have been sad. I have been confident and I have been disappointed. I have trusted and I have been betrayed.
I have had good days and bad days. I have overcome problems and solved questions, I have searched for answers and found even more questions. I have asked for directions and found new routes and I have lost myself in doubts. I have felt sure of my convictions and I have played the devil's advocate, over and over again, because if there is something that I hate more than being betrayed, it's being mistaken.
And yet, through it all, I have always known that I am stuck with this case until the end. Because despite everything that has happened in these past 1024 days, there is still a mystery to be solved. There is still justice to be served. Or, to borrow the words of Gerry McCann, there is still someone out there who is responsible for whatever happened to Madeleine Beth McCann.
It's certainly not a temporary injunction, upheld by a first instance court, that is going to throw me off. This is not the end. It is merely the beginning.
And whether it takes another 1024 days, or even more: Justice will be made, in memory of Madeleine. In honour of my children, and of your children. Because it's the right thing to do.
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I had lunch with astro when I was on the Algarve. She is a genuinely modest and lovely person, very proud of her children. I can well imagine that it is her maternal love which gives her the strength to fight for Madeleine.
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Once that watershed article was placed before British eyes, the internet caught fire. The suspicions which many of us had were suddenly writ large.
It was a welcome and crucial landmark.
Here's to Astro - a pioneer.
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