Monday, 24 September 2007

Sunday, 23 September 2007

My own two cents...on Madeleine

Getting sick and tired of the “smear” campaign that has Portugal and its police as a target lately, I thought of giving my own two cents on the Madeleine McCann disappearance.

Ok, so let’s see…don’t you think it is interesting to see how the PR campaign is shifting (or trying to shift the attention) from the McCann’s and the possibility that they are suspected only now? Let’s consider one thing: during all the time the McCann’s were not suspects, they spent their days launching balloons, visiting the Pope, going to the US as awareness about "missing children" or going to shopping sprees as stated in their blog BUT it is NOW that they are going to seriously make an ad campaign to find Madeleine?

Let’s go fact by fact:

1. Why do parents leave children of small age alone knowing that there is the risk that they will wake up and might leave the room?
2. Did the McCann’s sedate their children? They said no. However, on 9 September they told the Sunday Times that gave to their children Calpol (paracetamol) which does not have a sedating effect.
3. Why (according to a witness) does Kate McCann call Sky News about her missing child even BEFORE calling the police? Quite interesting don’t you think? Police reports (after studying the list of calls made from the McCann’s apartment) say that the call to Sky News was done at 22:00 while the call to the police was done at 22:40!
4. Why does Kate McCann remain in the room when everyone is out looking for Madeleine? If my child had disappeared from where she was supposed to be, the first thing I would do (and having witnessed those events several times, I know that is what usually happens) would be to go out to see if the child wouldn’t be wandering somewhere. Kate McCann chose to stay in the apartment.
5. One witness testified that Kate never cried, the neighbours only discovered it was her child that was missing when they saw the papers she gave to the police.
6. Why, if kidnapping, only Madeleine was kidnapped when there was 3 small children in the same room? Let’s be honest, that is not logical.
7. Does the blood found in the car belong to Maddie? The parents explained that Maddie had a cut in a leg when they were flying to Portugal, traces of blood could therefore be on her clothes which would have been in the car after she disappeared. Professor Antonio Amorim, Vice-Director of the Instituto de Patologia e Imunologia da Universidade do Porto (Institute of Pathology and Immunology of Porto University) says that the DNA transfer from a piece of clothing to the safe of the car is “virtually impossible”. According to him, the chance that happens is merely an “academic” one (forget the CSI series you’re watching!). The McCann’s guarantee to have innocent explanations for the blood in the car they rented 3 weeks after Maddie’s disappearance. All her things were transported in that car and therefore there was a transfer of DNA. Prof. Amorim says “in theory yes, that can happen, in the real world? No, it is virtually impossible since the quality of the DNA would have to be acceptable" (the DNA found had only 15 of the 20 required markers). Prof. Amorim continues saying that there should have been "perfect conditions of humidity for the transfer". And that the blood could have been from her twin brother and sister? Prof. Amorim’s answer: "when you try to reconstruct a DNA, you look for target areas. A person’s DNA has great diversity; it is something that is different even between brothers and sisters. It’s like a lottery result that is transmitted to us by our parents and it would be the most serious mistake a lab could do to confuse one DNA with another"! May I please remind that all DNA testing was done in England?
8. At a request of British police, Portuguese police had sniffer dogs come from England, sniffer dogs which can smell “dead bodies”. The dogs found traces of that smell in the car and in the apartment. Explanation from the McCann’s: Kate being a doctor and having handled corps in the morgue before her holidays, the smell stayed in her clothes. Say what? Three weeks later the smell would linger on? Even after having washed the clothing. Because let’s see, 3 weeks before her holidays and 4 weeks after Maddie disappeared i.e. 7 weeks later, the dogs would still be able to smell it? She doesn’t wash her clothes?

As I said above, it was the McCann’s who wanted the “media circus” to be able to search for their daughter. Ok, they got a private jet to go to the Vatican, to the US, to Morocco, all over Europe. All this disturbed the police work who could not work properly as it had to spend half its time avoiding the press!

Many Portuguese now believe that all this media frenzy was a smoke screen. The impression in Portugal is that all that served one purpose, that the McCann’s could not in any case be guilty. Little by little, the McCann’s had convinced the world that it was a kidnapping and that there was not much hope of recovering Maddie. However, they would not go back to England without her. Until…they were declared arguidos and “fled” to England.

("Arguido" is a person who is being formally charged of some crime. The legal status of “arguido” is used in criminal procedures only. If it is what is called a "civil" procedure the person is called "réu". You are an arguido after you are considered a formal suspect and until you are considered guilty or not guilty, or until the other part gives up on the process.

1. What rights does the status of arguido give to a suspect?
The arguido has the right to have a fair trial, to defend himself and he must have a lawyer. An "arguido" has more legal rights than a witness, including right to remain silent and have a lawyer. Some people request to be declared "arguido" to get this protection. Police must declare a witness an "arguido" before asking certain questions or making an arrest. Courts may restrict movements of an "arguido". An arrest or charge does not always follow someone being named an "arguido"

2. What obligations does it place upon a suspect?
The obligations are to be present in court and to respect the instructions of the judge before the trial occurs.

3. How long is it possible to be an arguido?
Can’t remember what the Portuguese law says about this because cases usually take so long...

4. What is the difference between being an arguido and a witness?
A witness is the person who testifies in court, the person who saw something or knows something, or is important to the case. We call it a "testemunha". Arguido is the person who is being charged of some crime)

The conclusion of the police: an accident might have happened in the apartment, Maddie died and the parents and their friends decided to hide the body, pretended there had been a kidnapping and to later dispose of her. In the meantime the media frenzy had got to such an extent that they could not come back on their declarations.

Was it then just a case of protecting a reputation? But who’s reputation, Kate’s or Gerry? After some search, the police discovered that Gerry McCann, a cardiologist, has powerful friends that he was aiming at an important job in the Ministry of Health and was hoping to start a political career. That must have weighted a lot in the few hours after Maddie’s disappearance.

Don’t get me wrong on what I have written, I would prefer that Maddie was kidnapped and that one day she could be found. I really hope this is what happened and that somehow, she is ok.
BUT… the bottom line is that parents left their children unattended and Maddie is still missing. The McCann will have to live with that guilt for the rest of their lives.

By the way, in a poll published by the Sunday Times, 48% of the British people asked to answer believe the McCann’s might be responsible of Maddie’s death.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Estranha Forma de Vida...e a Saudade!

Estranha forma de vida cantava Amália...é...estranha forma de vida que faz com que muitas vezes não se sabe a que vida se pertence.

Nasci portuguesa, mas tendo vivido a maior parte da minha vida no estrangeiro, nada fazia com que me identificasse realmente como "portuguesa". No entanto, hoje é assim que me sinto. Não sou de "origem" portuguesa (como respondia a quem perguntava), mas "portuguesa"...grande diferença...pelo menos para mim.

Não quero fazer um discurso filosófico-político sobre as razões que leva os portugueses a conheço bem as razões que levaram os meus pais a tomar essa decisão e a explicação acaba aqui. O que é mais importante é saber como se identificar...a que parte do mundo pertencemos.

Quando jovem nunca fui muito de gostar de Portugal ou de me interessar por um país que não tinha nada que ver comigo, afinal, era apenas o país onde passava ferias...até ao dia em que decisão foi tomada de voltar para Portugal com o consequente choque cultural e social (pelo menos para mim). Foi difícil habituar-se a um país que não conhecia.

Pensava que poderia retomar a minha vida de antes quando voltei a ir para o estrangeiro, afinal tinha voltado para o meu "elemento natural", de onde (no meu entender) nunca deveria de ter saído.

"De que nacionalidade és"? A essa pergunta respondia sempre "sou de origem portuguesa mas vivi a maior parte da minha vida em...e por isso sou mais ... do que portuguesa". Isso é desconhecer a marca que um país é capaz de nos deixar. Hoje a minha resposta é diferente, à mesma pergunta respondo "sou portuguesa!"

Estranho como se acaba por ter orgulho de falar do seu país...a tentar fazer comprender a sua cultura, a sua historia, a sua gente e o porquê da "saudade", essa palavra que não existe em mais nenhuma lingua do mundo a não ser em português...essa palavra que não se pode traduzir ou explicar.

Saudade...é, nós portugueses vivemos eternamente nesse estado de saudade...e essa é uma das razões que me levaram hoje a escrever em português no meu blog (afinal depois de ter escrito em inglês e francês, bem merecia que escrevesse na minha propria lingua)...a saudade. Saudade do tempo (pouco) que vivi em Portugal, saudade daquela atmosphera acolhedera que só no seu país se consegue sentir...saudade...saudade. Essa saudade e estranha forma de vida que a Amália cantava como ninguem...

Foi por vontade de Deus
Que eu vivo nesta ansiedade
Que todos os ais são meus
Que é toda minha saudade
Foi por vontade de Deus
Que estranha forma de vida
Vive este meu coração
Vive de vida perdida
Quem lhe daria um condão
Que estranha forma de vida
Coração independente
Coração que eu não comando
Vive perdido entre a gente
Teimosamente sangrando
Coração independente
Eu não te acompanho mais
Pára, deixa de bater
Se não sabes aonde vais
Por que teimas em correr?
Eu não te acompanho mais

Para os portugueses que por mero acaso descobrem o meu blog...a intenção actual não é de escrever as minhas "bocas" sobre o que se passa em Portugal mesmo se vontade não me falta neste momento. Mas estou cansada demais para ter um raciocínio coherente ou inteligente a esta hora da noite...continuem a visitar o meu minhas "bocas" não vão tardar muito!
Por agora a palavra de ordem é assuntos sérios!!!!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Des Langues et de leur usages...

Preuve du (petit) succès que commence à avoir mon blog, voilà qu'il commence à être difficile de répondre aux attentes de tous ceux et celles qui le visitent. La question du jour étant..."à quand un message en français sur ton blog"? (La personne se reconnaîtra, mais nous connaissons assez bien notre sens de l'humour à toutes les deux!)

Donc, prochaine étape: me rappeler que même si l'anglais est la langue universelle (bla, bla, bla...qui a décidé que ce devait être l'anglais d'abord????), mon univers le plus proche (et je pense aussi à l'univers du 6ème étage) navigue au beau milieu d'une myriade de langues.

Bien des fois je me crois en pleine tour de Babel e.g. je commence ma journée en parlant français pour passer à l'anglais en passant par l'italien et l'espagnol et le tout ceci en une seule journée! Il faut admettre qu'il y a matière à réflexion ...finalement admettons le...ça rend service une seule langue (mais pourquoi l' me répondez surtout pas que la raison est "démographique" ou que c'est la langue la plus facile à apprendre...!).

Et puis comment ne pas s'emmêler les pinceaux avec tout ce charabia dans toutes ces langues différentes. Alors voyons, au 6ème étage résonne: du portugais, de l'espagnol, de l'italien, du français, de l'anglais, du russe, de l'afrikaans, de l'allemand et du sué beh.
Qui m'a un jour demandé pourquoi j'aime tellement travailler dans un univers multiculturel...? La réponse est là. Pas besoin d'aller plus loin, quand une telle richesse linguistique est présente au sein d'une seule et même équipe, l'apport culturel est bien plus grand que tous les livres que l'on peut lire! Et puis ce que ça peut être drôle des fois!

Angela, Angéla, Ângela, Angelikki!?

Friday, 14 September 2007

Blogs and subjects of discussion...

On a coffee break with colleagues, and having fun as usual with the "Dream Team" from the "6th Floor", the important question suddenly became: "when are you going to write another post in your blog?"

I was puzzled by the interest my blog had generated among them...hadn't realized to which extent. My "little" blog had its admirers...

I had started my blog with no precise intention, maybe it was just a will to "go with the flow", after all, working in a "technology" environment, managing a website, and being a fan of the latest technological "gadgets" that might seem natural.

In fact, quite an irony, when thinking that I had delayed as much as I could to have a mobile phone or that I discovered Internet only 9 years ago! Seems so long now ... who would have guessed???

To go back to that interesting coffee break...laughing as usual ...the question of the next post came out of the blue and actually quite puzzled me. I hadn't realized my blog was being read with much interest amongst colleagues.

Seems that the post on the fire situation in Greece was a success. A few simple words to express my own view of the problem, my own revolt with a situation that is still so confusing and difficult to explain why it reached such catastrophic levels and my grief for a country I learnt to love as if my own. That little summary of the situation had caught their attention and interest!

Is it true finally that the "pen is mightier than the sword"? I know what some of you might be sounds a bit pompous to say such a thing for a little blog like mine, but if my blog could interest 20 people on what was happening in Greece (people who were completely unaware of the real extent of the disaster), then it was worth while!

To end this post, I leave you with the complete adage coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his 1839 play "Richelieu, or the Conspiracy":

True, This!
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! itself a nothing!
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the Cæsars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless!
Take away the sword
States can be saved without it!

OK, lets be honest...he was not the only one to think that. So maybe, it is true...leaving you (until the next post - soon) with words from those who agree with me:

The Greek poet Euripides said, "The tongue is mightier than the blade."
Shakespeare in Hamlet writes that "... many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills."
In 1621 Robert Burton wrote The Anatomy of Melancholy, in which he stated: "From this it is clear how much more cruel the pen may be than the sword."
And Thomas Jefferson, who in 1796 sent a letter to Thomas Paine in which he wrote: "Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword."