Yesterday I walked into a room where the radio was playing and I caught part of an item called "Pause for Thought" which did make me do just that.
I have finally tracked down what it was all about. The speaker, Baroness Julia Neuberger, was talking about the high profile that some missing children receive compared to others.
I quote the first paragraph, the rest can be found here for the remainder of the week.
The horrors we hear from the children’s home in Jersey have been multiplying day by day. With its shackles and cellars, this may be the worst example of child abuse and cruelty we have heard about in recent years, but it brings out issues we should have been thinking about anyway. Children do make the news. We still hear constantly about Madeleine McCann, and the names of Sarah Payne, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman are engraved on the nation’s heart. But what about nine year old Shannon Matthews, who disappeared two weeks ago after leaving her primary school? The nation seems to have lost interest in her.
In essence, she was asking why the public and media seem less interested in Shannon Matthews. Is it because she isn't quite so pretty, not shy and timid, somehow less worthy? Is it because her parents aren't doctors, are less well-off, less able to manipulate the media?
So children with less ‘voice’, children experiencing appalling treatment, the child who disappears from a poor family, with little media experience …. They get a worse deal by far than the others. What does that say about our attitude to children? And particularly about our attitude to disadvantaged children?
It certainly has made me think. It was two weeks ago that Shannon Matthews disappeared, but there are very few pictures of her around, nothing like the media cover of the other young girls mentioned above. I haven't even been able to find a good quality image.
And if the less advantaged children in this country don't have a voice, how about the much less advantaged in the developing world?