I read this outcry for freedom by Gonçalo Amaral at a time when the country wallows, and when I say the country, I say the politicians, some characters within the judiciary system supplying the pyrotechnical material for the fireworks that the media launch every day around the ‘Face Oculta’ process [major corruption scandal presently being investigated in Portugal]. And it is the greatest example of hypocrisy. Exactly the same newspapers, the same columnists, who in the name of respect for the parents’ «pain», in the name of respect for arguidos with no other coercion measure, practically imposed the end of any newscast about Maddie, they are exactly the same that, forgetting today what they had said yesterday, flog personalities from the areas of politics or economy with suspicions, half truths and hearsay, based on wiretaps that nobody knows, savagely destroying the character and honour of their targets.
Two weights and two measures. And now, after reading this painful, nostalgic, and yet brave book, following a temporary injunction against ‘Maddie – The Truth of the Lie’, accepted by a Portuguese court, I understand even better what I always understood: the McCann couple’s strategy, since the first day of their media folklore, never had any other purpose: to discredit the Portuguese Justice, the Portuguese Police, and, fundamentally, Gonçalo Amaral, the man who knew the most, and still does, about what they did. And what they didn’t.
Gonçalo Amaral is not a fictional character. He is the boldness of truth. He is the challenge of truth. Even if he doesn’t fully know it. He knows what nobody else does, about Maddie’s hidden destiny. And it’s no use to try to conceal the sun with a sieve, which seems to be the child’s parents’ only obsession, because like Sherlock Holmes invariably replied to his unavoidable friend Dr. Watson, the method of deduction, applied to facts, as long as they are seen in connection, becomes elementary, even for the most stupid living beings, that if action A produced result B, if result B is coherent with consequence C, then A is related to C. It is elementary! Aristotle formulated this reasoning in the shape of syllogisms, Edmond Locard, the father of modern criminal investigation, recovered it to become the instrument of all investigation police forces worldwide, and the results are there.
Even CSI, written under the shape of future fiction, evokes Locard. He is the true God of criminal investigation. Without exception. Be it for the Portuguese PJ, the FBI, the Scotland Yard. There is only one exception. It applies to all criminal cases except to the disappearance of Maddie. The exception. The divine exception which protects the parents to continue the farce. Since the beginning of the investigation. None of what has been explained by the hired «detectives», none of what is related to the reconstitution of facts, more or less proved, none of what is advanced by the «spin’s», hired journalists, protective political chains, manages to resist the implacable evidential logic of Edmond Locard. The instrument which Gonçalo Amaral used. Nothing escapes it. Neither the «moral» indignation, nor the silly piety, nor faith, nor propaganda, or any injunction, manages to trample over what life produces, as such, and Locard never ceased to be right. Just like Gonçalo Amaral. Just like all professional policemen who know, who are competent, who master the techniques of criminal investigation.
Gonçalo Amaral lives in the artlessness of the very best policemen. He believes that working so uninterestedly, in such an selfless way, where only the solution of the enigma matters, he didn’t pay attention to the dark manoeuvres, he didn’t realise that behind every column that was written against him, behind every indignant comment or editorial, behind every report that was serving the McCanns’ sieve, a current of sinister associations and complicities was organising itself, which had nothing to do with the material truth, or the investigation into the mysterious disappearance. The ingenuity of those who love their job and deliver themselves to their profession in an unconditional way.
Gonçalo Amaral never realised that nothing was done, apart from him and his team, to solve the case. On the contrary. Everything was done, from propaganda to commissioned detectives, to screw up his case. Nothing else mattered.
And one just has to look at the results. After all the silences, after all the interviews, after all the «reputed» detectives, after millions of euros, after the Pope’s blessing, and his negation, after so many words, squeezed to the last drop, that what has been advanced since the day that the process ended was zero. ZERO! That is to say, everything was done to shut up Gonçalo Amaral. Nothing was done to discover the truth. And the abduction theory, now the injunction, just like all the other pieces of this farce, had only one goal, just one: to tell the world that the little girl’s parents are saints and that the bad guy, the really bad guy, in this story is the policeman.
But Locard is right. Here and anywhere else in the world. And therefore, just like Galileo, Gonçalo Amaral is right. Even if it takes years (in Galileo’s case it took centuries) to demonstrate that he is right. Despite all mystifications, all insinuations, all calumnies, all injunctions, the truth, the only truth, that remains to be discovered is the time at which everything happened and the destiny that befell the pitiful child.
There is no inquisition, no censorship, no rhetoric, no ridiculous staging of shamelessly moralist and lying statements, no falsehoods, no little pieties that can violate Locard. The most cruel of all investigators. The one to whom the entire world owes the discovery of the method that became indifferent to witness statement or confession. The Truth is there, even if others persist, and sanction it, as a Lie. The world of material truth, taken from laboratories, pulled from Aristotle’s syllogisms, reconstructed with the methods of scientific police, has no pity for tears and no mercy for staging. Not even official censorship can silence what is built by life, the material testimonies, no matter how small, tear down the most staged and plentiful weeping.
It is certain that the process did not reach absolute conclusions. It is true. The formalism of the process imposes itself to the substance of evidence. But do not try to deceive yet another truth. Because it did not reach its end, but it went a long way. In another country, maybe it would have been enough for a condemnatory decision. Not here. There are no condemned. All are innocent. In the shape of law. Although those who carry out criminal investigations know that not a single law can change the entropy of life. Which is, after all, its greatest wealth which the poverty of norm never succeeds in capturing.
Francisco Moita Flores, in Preface to The English Gag, December 2009