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Sympathy for devil likely/Daily Telegraph

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Sympathy for devil likely/Daily Telegraph

Post  Annabel on Fri 15 Jun - 9:44

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/more-likely-to-express-sympathy-for-a-devil/story-fn6b3v4f-1226395024113

Source: Herald Sun

Sympathy for devil likely

by: Sarrah Le Marquand
From: The Daily Telegraph
June 14, 2012 12:00AM

TO an inquisitive child, it made for fascinating dinner-table conversation. It was then, as I sat transfixed listening to the grown-ups around me discussing a high-profile murder trial, that I first heard the name Azaria Chamberlain.

Theories were breathlessly floated, character assessments exchanged and occasionally brutal observations ventured.

The apparent villain of the tale - a woman known as "Lindy" - was spoken of in alternating tones of contempt and bewilderment.

The year was 1982 and, although I was too young to realise it at the time, similar gossip sessions had long been dominating dinner parties right across Australia. With the wisdom of hindsight it's clear many of the half-baked conclusions reached over coffee and after-dinner mints that evening were based on blatant inaccuracies and far-fetched scenarios borne from a nationwide game of Chinese whispers.

Yet, even then, what was immediately obvious was the lack of empathy for a family who were in the midst of the most torturous of ordeals.

Perhaps it was the overactive imagination of a young girl, but I remember being horrified at the thought of a baby being snatched from her bassinet by a dingo.

Not even the breezy assurances offered by many of the guests ("It wasn't the dingo, they're lying" seemed to be the general consensus) lessened the horror.

The mere possibility that a two-month-old could have died in such terrifying circumstances was enough to keep me awake at night for a week.

A reaction, it would seem, that was not shared by many of my fellow Australians - at least not the adults.

Had I been a few years older, no doubt I too would have engaged in such juicy chatter and fevered speculation with all the self-righteousness and cool detachment that the court of public opinion demands.

There's little cause to feel sorrow for a couple in mourning over the death of their child when you view their personal tragedy as nothing more than a spectator sport.

Not even this week's determination by Northern Territory Deputy Coroner Elizabeth Morris that a dingo was indeed responsible for the death of Azaria during a family camping trip in 1980 will convince everyone of her parents' innocence.

After years of constant smears and innuendo, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and her ex-husband Michael may have finally attained vindication but no courtroom can compensate for the startling lack of compassion shown by large pockets of the community.

Three decades later, the temptation to condemn parents who find themselves in tragic circumstances is still strong.

How else to explain the often vitriolic reaction to Gerry and Kate McCann, whose daughter Madeleine went missing while on a family holiday to Portugal in 2007?

Despite enduring the cruellest of fates - not knowing whether their little girl is alive or dead - the couple's suffering is dismissed by many because of their ill-fated decision to leave their children alone in a resort villa as they dined at a nearby restaurant.

A foolish act they will regret the rest of their days? Absolutely. But one that in no way diminishes the anguish they are doomed to endure until they establish, if ever, their daughter's whereabouts.

Perhaps the reasoning behind the more callous responses to the loss of a child and the subsequent devastation of the loved ones left behind is an attempt at self-protection. Neatly assigning blame for the unthinkable allows us to feel less vulnerable to a similar fate.
We are so desperate to cling to the belief that terrible things only happen to guilty people that we selfishly convince ourselves families such as the Chamberlains and McCanns brought their misfortune on themselves.

But try as we might to deny it, life can be cruel.

And so can we, the self-appointed jury so quick to condemn heartbroken parents in their darkest hour.



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Re: Sympathy for devil likely/Daily Telegraph

Post  mara thon on Fri 15 Jun - 10:01

This person obviously hasn't paid much attention to the early photographs of the heartbroken parents.

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Re: Sympathy for devil likely/Daily Telegraph

Post  almostgothic on Fri 15 Jun - 10:03

Daily Telegraph (AUS) and Herald Sun (AUS).

No prizes for guessing who owns both of these newspapers ...

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Re: Sympathy for devil likely/Daily Telegraph

Post  mossman on Fri 15 Jun - 10:11

"Despite enduring the cruellest of fates - not knowing whether their little girl is alive or dead - the couple's suffering is dismissed by many because of their ill-fated decision to leave their children alone in a resort villa as they dined at a nearby restaurant."[b]


This excuse is wearing very thin imo. For many, the fact that the parents say the children were alone is almost immaterial at this point in time. There is so much more that leads people to "dismiss the couples suffering". If the press were to print the real reasons people dismiss the McCanns version of events, there would be very very very few people left in the world believing in them.


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