Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Scarlett Keeling: Her bereaved mother too hip for media slags

The trial of two men accused of killing the 15 year-old Devon girl Scarlett Keeling starts today. Her body was found on an Anjuna beach in Goa in February 2008.

That the matter has reached this point at all is down to Scarlett's tenacious mother Fiona MacKeown who battled with Goan authorities. Initially, local police said the girl had drowned. But later forensic evidence revealed she had been violently attacked and raped before death.

No doubt a larger corrupt story lies behind this attempted cover-up. Several years ago I toured India as a member of a press party. In Goa the guy from the Financial Times popped out for a ride on a motorbike and was stopped by local cops. They told him he would be arrested if he did not pay them a sum of money and keep quiet about it: he gave them cash. Neither in his travel piece nor mine was any mention made of the encounter, probably to save our generous Indian hosts embarrassment. But I vowed never to return to Goa. Something is plainly rotten in its police force.

How some British newspapers have treated Fiona is worth re-examination. Her hippy appearance and lifestyle offended a great many of the lower middleclass neurotics paid a great deal of money to parade their neuroses. The Daily Mail's Allison Pearson excelled herself in March 2008. "Fiona MacKeown... seems less like a grieving mother than an avenging tigress," she wrote, as if any normal mother would not want justice for her dead child. She then went on to claim that Fiona herself was responsible for her daughter's death for leaving her in the care of a local tour guide she hardly knew.

But what upset Allison more than anything else was the idea of a "free-living" woman taking her family on a dream trip to India - "an unrepentant member of the Me Generation" as she put it - as opposed to being an uptight, probably unhappy and certainly overworked hack who allows people to think she's married to her live-in partner to placate a seething hateful readership. Somehow, Fiona had brought this tragedy on herself, because she had rejected convention just as Allison embraces it like a moronic teen clubber seeking a meow meow high.

Sarah Sands, in the Independent, echoed the Pearson line, albeit in a gentler, more caring way. "She may have been a free spirit, but Scarlett was also a child. Fiona MacKeown put ideology before humanity," simpered Sarah, who herself gives a good impression of ylang ylang-scented New Age-lite enlightenment, but ultimately is just another careerist conformist peddling the standard (and Evening Standard) line on a whole array of topics.

What astonishes me is the callous disregard for Fiona MacKeown and for her dead daughter: both are just cultural weapons to beat an offending lifestyle. I will be interested to see what these two media slags have to say about the Keeling case when all the facts emerge.

15 comments:

M de Plouquenet said...

Common sense enters into it. One does not just "dump" a 15 year old and head off up or down the coast. Lookism is a part of our society, when one sees a pierced pot smoking dude or dudess one makes prejudiced presumptions. As for Goan plod they are echoed in Russia believe me. Ms Keeling may have met her demise after drunkenly getting herself into a dangerous situation.

little augury said...

if this child's parent was jack the ripper it wouldn't matter- the narrow western mind-too much judgment, not enough justice.

Five-Centres said...

How dare she not be a county type who drops her daughter off at the gymkhana then rushes home in her 4x4 to drown the sorrows of her bitterly disappointing marriage to a boorish City type in gin, and later sobs quietly into her pillow during a bout of forced yet perfunctory sex.

God forbid anyone should actually enjoy their life.

Tsk!

Madame Arcati said...
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Madame Arcati said...
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Madame Arcati said...

Then it's not the business of newspapers to make prejudiced assumptions - and a corrupt police force is certainly not unique to Goa. I doubt very much that the harpies in the press, who have maligned Keeling's mother, have at times themselves not been remiss as parents but had the good fortune to get away with it.

M de Plouquenet said...

Is that a different story? Keeling killed and the death hushed up (for whatever reason). Snobby journalists extracting the urine is another matter.

Madame Arcati said...

Goa's local cops (and others) tried to cover up the death -that's one story. Another is the murder. Yet another is the disgraceful treatment of the mother.

Nibby01 said...

I hope justice is served and that Fiona MacKeown gets to know the true story of what happened to her daughter on that fateful day. Such a sad story caught up in a very corrupt world.

Anonymous said...

I'd read about this murder but hadn't realised how murky it is and how disgusting the British media have been. The Daily Mail is a public health hazard and its editor sick in the head.

Anonymous said...

The bastards who raped and murdered Scarlett should be hanged - as per Indian law. But this whole awful episode does highlight the way a LOT of westerners behave in India - taking risks they would never take in Britain despite the typical 3rd World dysfunctions of police and political corruption and no welfare state. Having lots of poor grinning coolies fawn over them makes Britishers think they're back in the Raj with immunity from the realities of life. Scarlett's mother was an idiot for leaving her child alone in the middle of the 3rd World in an environment polluted with drugs and criminality. She should bear some responsibility for that.

Duralex said...

<< Then it's not the business of newspapers to make prejudiced assumptions - >>

This must be ironical.

theundergroundrestaurant said...

Scarlett was 15 and I believe they considered the family that she stayed with to be friends...they'd known them for a while.
But compare and contrast the media's treatment of Fiona's mother with the kid glove treatment of the McCanns who abandoned 3 children under 4 every night of their holiday, have alot of questions to answer and who have been very uncooperative with the police. They've also made an awful lot of money out of their missing daughter.
Why? Because they are middle class doctors and married?

Madame Arcati said...

Oh dear, another nutter. What has the McCanns' class got to do with anything, aside from advertising that shoulder chip of yours?

As I have said to other McCann obsessives, while the parents undoubtedly erred in leaving their kids the night of the abduction - even allowing for the regular checks - show me a parent who has not made mistakes in the rearing of their brood but got away with it through good fortune. The campaign against the McCanns is in large part being orchestrated by people with personality and mental dysfuctions anxious to project resentments and anger on the couple.

The fact that no legal case against the McCanns has ensued, and that a Portuguese court recently upheld an injunction against Amaral's opportunistic book - opening the way to libel proceedings - should give you pause for thought.

Anonymous said...

After four years, Scarlett's body is going to be returned to her mother. Such injustice, media tried to kill her mother so did the unfair authrities. everyone should be concered in hanginf the perople who tortured and killed Scarlett instead of critizing her mother.