Thursday, 6 October 2011

Searching for lost children

I watched a heartbreaking programme about Ben Needham this evening. He was a twenty-one month old British boy who went missing on the Greek island Kos in 1991. 

There are some news stories that make a big impact on you and shape how you view the world. They are, I think, the ones you hear about when you are starting to be conscious of the news. Mine split into two categories: non-natural disasters and crimes against individuals  They include the Hillsborough disaster, the Marchioness disaster, the Zebrugge disaster, the Lockerbie disaster, Suzy Lamplugh, Rachel Nickell, Josie Russell and Ben Needham. 

As such, I have thought of his case often. His mother still searches for him twenty years after he disappeared. I understand that she can't stop looking, but what would happen, I wonder, if she found him, separated by culture and language and twenty years of being apart. I wonder this in relation to Madeleine McCann too. What if she is living a happy life with a family and has no memory of her past - would it  be worse for her wellbeing to reveal all and reunite her with her parents or to let her continue that life with no knowledge of how she came to be living it? 

What can you hope for a child who has literally been lost? For them to have a happy life I guess - that is all I can come up with. It's hard though. What do you do if getting them back ruins their life by turning it inside out? I cannot imagine any parent saying okay, we have found them, now let us leave them alone to continue the life they now have. Such a choice is biblical in the extent of its horror. But whatever might happen if you found them, I understand that the parents can never stop looking.

Related posts:
The risks you dare not take
My baby, my daemon

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