Intro/explanation: 'Companhia das Manhãs' [lit. trans. Morning Companionship] is a daily talk show presented by Rita Ferro Rodrigues and Francisco Menezes, broadcast by SIC Portuguese TV channel owned by Impresa. Last Wednesday ‘Companhia da Manhãs’ reached 22,3% share according to Marktest - Media Monitor. The talk-show focal point is on human-interest stories such as family, life, education, etc, discussing topical issues that have made the news headlines; it also presents some entertaining moments as well as Hernâni Carvalho crime segment titled 'Registo Criminal' [lit. trans. Criminal Record]. On Thursday, that particular crime segment featured the McCann case; specifically, Kate McCann recurring visits to Praia da Luz and a brief analysis on that issue by forensic psychologist and University Professor Dr.Paulo Sargento.
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Rita Ferro Rodrigues - RFR
Francisco Menezes - FM
Paulo Sargento - PS
Hernâni Carvalho - HC
RFR – Hernâni, without further delay… [initiating the crime segment]
FM – Good morning…
PS/HC – Good morning…
FM – One of these days, it will be our turn to appear on the ‘Criminal Record’ due to this ‘what do I have to do in order to get the prize?’ issue [I presume FM is referring to the jackpot money prize as seen at the top right side of the video] - the prize is always offered…
HC – cut to HC [background laughs]
FM - …don’t you worry [to the audience]. Good morning, Paulo.
PS – Good morning.
RFR – [simultaneously] We have two themes… Hernâni… Hernâni and Paulo Sargento…
PS – Hello.
RFR - …two issues that have created a good deal of interest, that are of significance to the Portuguese – that is what you bring us here today, is that right?
HC – Yes, actually one more than the other since the Portuguese… Well, it is one of those things that happen in life, in short people have become more distanced – something that takes place even when events concern us, thus when it relates to others…
RFR – The news decline… [not 103% sure of what Rita says here]
HC – Exactly, they become distanced…
FM - Things take time, they are delayed…
HC - …but then, one thing or another brings back the memory – and that was what happened in the case… in the Algarve case, in Praia da Luz when madam [Sr.ª D. lit. trans.] Kate McCann, Maddie’s mum and of those beautiful twins, that we saw being carried by their father…
RFR – Sean and Amelie.
HC - …when they went back to London in September - returned and some took it well, whilst others reacted against it. The fact is that they were here. I invited Professor Paulo Sargento essentially for one reason – I would like to understand what sets off… when a mother looses a child in a certain location, that site obtains a meaningful value…
PS – Yes, a special symbolic significance.
HC - A symbolic value. So, what I want to understand is - what triggers a mother to return recurrently to an area where she has lost her child.
PS – Well, one interpretation is…
HC – There is something else, actually…
PS – Please, go on.
HC – There is something that people often say - and psychologists can explain that objectively far better than I do - it’s in the vein of “Christians who have Christ crucified on a cross”; no one has a photo of their brother or their father’s accident… [obvious analogy]
PS – Certainly not.
HC - What I would like to understand is that. However, before let us watch what people think, or what they feel. Eugénia [the journalist] was down there [South Portugal] and she talked with several people who saw Kate…
FM – In the village of Praia da Luz.
HC - … who saw Kate in the church, and saw Kate jogging with the Anglican priest wife; anyway, she was down there and maybe it would be interesting to start off with that.
FM – Let’s watch it then. [approving background mumbled sounds]
Video interview in Praia da Luz starting at 2'09''
Eugénia [journalist second name unknown] - E
Local Woman (with disguised voice) - LW
E – What kind of impact does Madeleine’s disappearance still have?
LW – Even now, people think about what has taken place, except in a different manner. They are tired of hearing about Maddie, of what went on, of the reappearance of the parents in here, and… weary, extremely worn out.
E – Do you think people preferred the McCann couple not to comeback?
LW – I believe so, yes. I believe so… that people don’t… that they are no longer welcome here in Praia da Luz. ‘What are they doing here again?!’ – It is the comment that people do. People talk about the various times they have returned; they have already been here several times, including last week – they’ve came back, at least the mother did. I have heard some comments that she was here, and that she went around Luz beach exercising. People also comment that she went to Luz church to pray.
E – Was the McCann couple around here last month?
LW – Yes, in August. I think it was in August.
E – They were seen?
LW – They were seen, yes. I think it’s enough – at least of praying here in Praia da Luz, she can pray at her own house.
*reference note – the above interview was edited, in sound and image, thus the ‘jumps’ in what should be a normal conversation.
RFR – Funny how things change. Isn't it, Hernâni?
HC – [sighs] You know, despite whatever it’s said, the fact is that no one knows where Maddie is. That would be a remarkable thing - to be able to be here and bring something new, but… I want to start by explaining that this woman owns a business where several people go, therefore she asked us to keep her identity protected since… you understand - people don’t like to cause damages to their own business just because they are giving an interview. Anyhow, she does have a business where many people go to and exchange opinions. I know extremely well Praia da Luz – it may sound like arrogance but it isn’t. I know it well due to…for elementary reasons I had to go numerous times to Praia da Luz - during the day, at night, at dawn… I particularly enjoy Praia da Luz at dawn. Objectively, I really have a preference for Praia da Luz at dawn. And I know that there are two groups – their size is irrelevant – the Portuguese enjoy essentially peace, to relax, and don’t want to have nuisances.
FM – What exactly do you mean by “that you enjoy it more at dawn” – if that has a meaning at all.
HC – It means that I have a great enjoyment in watching Praia da Luz at dawn; it means that I really like to observe the phenomena that occur in Praia da Luz, at dawn. Moreover, I want to tell you that there are events, which take place at dawn, in Praia da Luz that do not happen in any other time of the year [sic].
RFR – And what is that, Hernâni?
HC – I strongly advise you to go to Praia da Luz- at dawn. It’s interesting, you’ll gain an entirely different perspective of life. And of the facts.
RFR – But of a life taking place in the sea? Do you mean of a life by the sea? A whole life at sea?
HC – Yes… You know…
RFR - And at the beach?
HC – ….that place there, next to the sea is truly beautiful - at dawn, seriously.
RFR – Various situations taking place, things in motion…
HC - I challenge everyone to go there, at least at dawn.
FM – How do you…?
HC - …going back to what this woman, [LW] was talking about. There’s another group of people that are British, thus they are likely to feel closer to or more supportive with this problematic of having lost a child – the Portuguese on the other side are fed up with this story. Probably we fail to understand, but…
FM – It sounds a bit cruel.
HC – It does sound a bit cruel, but you have no idea of the chaotic rush that takes place each time there’s a fresh small [non, spin] news. And people have the right to feel free and to live a normal life, away from cameras, from journalists and…
RFR - Yes, of course. Without people always making questions, and all that…
HC – Well, we went to Praia da Luz because… on the contrary… officially the McCann couple did not come here for the past 9 months. Clearly, that is not true; we all know that the McCann couple travels to here whenever they like, when they have a necessity – whenever they feel that necessity – and that is why I invited Dr. Paulo Sargento: what motivates a father or a mother to have that urge of returning to the place where they have lost their child.
RFR – Even because… let me just add something to that.
PS – Please do.
RFR – It is usually said that people have the tendency of returning to a place where they were happy once, however, in this case it’s the spot – my God! – where they were most unhappy, whatever the version of the events is. Surely, the sadness… [from this point on concurrent voices of HC/PS/FM & RFR]
FM – Is that natural?
PS – Relatively…
RFR - … the unhappiness is connected to that site.
PS - ...relatively to that, I prefer to make a comment in a more general scope, at least for now let us not comment directly on the case, which is actually what I…
RFR – Certainly.
FM – Of course.
HC – No, no, the question is what triggers a mother to return to the place where she has lost a child [mumbled sound, cough]
PS - … which is actually what I usually do, when commenting cases – in order to not be on the ‘top of the case’ [I suppose it means in order to not influence/imprint ideas?]…
RFR – Absolutely...
PS – I would like, later on, to make one or two quick considerations regarding a specific case. Now, in relation to the question made by Hernâni, that he has illustrated in a certain way with that image of Christ - Christ is not present in there, although there is something, which will refer us to a memory, with a very personal significance. Most of the times people will go to the last place where they have contacted with a person [loved/departed one], hence that place will become embed with a special symbolism, one which will bring to the present, to an actual existence, the memory of something that is very significant to that person. In reality…
FM – Even when [unintelligible, sounds like] it’s not related to a tragedy?
PS – Probably, yes.
RFR – When there is a road accident is it common for relatives go to that place?
PS - Yes, Rita, it’s very likely…
RFR – Depends from one person to another, right?
PS - …when there is a road accident - even in Lisbon…
HC - We often see flowers…
RFR – Yes, we see the flowers but that depends on the sensitivity of each person.
PS - That’s right, the flowers and the ‘alminhas’ [small shrines built close to tragic and/or fatal accidents sites] are indeed very common, namely amongst those who have a religious bond, for example to Catholicism and we, the Portuguese have in fact that tradition; and just as Hernâni said, an example of what might occur in similar situations is the flowers that are laid at the place where someone has had an accident, and the shrines that can be observed on the Portuguese roadsides – which are undoubtedly the places where so many have disappeared.
FM – So, that is a common situation.
PS - Obviously this kind of flow, of going back…
FM – Too often.
PS – Frequently or rarely depends of the person, it also depends on the relation one has with grieving.
work in progress
via SIC morning talk show 'Companhia das Manhãs - Registo Criminal' - broadcast on 15.10.2010