Monday, November 23, 2009

No news is not always good news

As the time goes by, and new things happen in our lives, we seem to forget and loose interest in the stories that are not in [I]the news.[/I] Our lives revolve around information that we get, mostly on TV. They will tell us when something is important to think about, and when it is not important anymore. The same applies to story about Mariam's disappearance. We saw waves of information, legions of media occupying the premises of FHCI, front of Mariam's building, place where the backpack was found, but just as long as there is something new and sensational to report about. And then, they are all gone. In the hunt for [I]new news.[/I] I am seriously disappointed with the level of journalism that was displayed in case of Mariam Makhniashvili. No one, and I will repeat no one took this seriously and to their heart. Sadly, most of our questions will stay unanswered, although they are not state secret. Did family indeed pass lie detector tests? Was it usual for Mariam to make last minute decisions such as changing her mind about what entrance she was going to use? Did she talk to anyone during her volunteer time with YMCA, or did she make any contact with anyone during their meetings? How often did she meet with other YMCA youth? Where were the meetings? Who accompanied her there? Do buildings along Shallmar have security cameras? What was her usual routine for lunch? Why did George think that she was ill and went home when he could not find her for lunch? What did make him to think that she was ill?

I have so many questions, and I know that we all have so many questions here. It takes one intelligent reporter to, at least get answers to some of those questions. But no, they choose to stay on the surface, and we can only guess and speculate. I have to admit it bothers me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The need for debriefing

Debriefing is the term that is often used when it comes to the first responders (police, paramedics, firefighters) trauma, or, in a more peaceful setting, as a method to help psychological experiment participants to express their feelings around participation and to relieve the stress associated with that. Today when I heard that the police will be talking to each and every student in Forest Hill Collegiate, and after my own personal experience of being interviewed by police in connection with Mariam Makhniashvili disappearance, I started thinking immediately: will anyone debrief with the students, if they show need for that, after they are going to be interviewed by the police. Because, that is what I would want for my child, and anyone else, who may need it, too. No matter what anyone will say, and no matter how happy you are to help the police with their process, some of us may experience psychological trauma, and may need debriefing.

One of the definitions of debriefing sums it up: "A debriefing or psychological debriefing is a one-time, semi-structured conversation with an individual who has just experienced a stressful or traumatic event. In most cases, the purpose of debriefing is to reduce any possibility of psychological harm by informing people about their experience or allowing them to talk about it." (Wikipedia)

There are divided opinions about who much debriefing really helps. Those who claim that debriefing is not necessary and helpful say that people are resilient, more than we think. It may be true, but for sure it is not true for everyone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What would you do if police knocked on your door in search for missing person?

64% of survey participants ( sample 210 ) said they would not let the police in!!!
I know what I would do. I would let them in, help them do their job, because, if I say "no", and get stuck on my human rights to privacy, I would stall them for no valid reason. Because my right to privacy is not more important than human life. And the last thing I want to do is to delay police in finding out the truth. I want them to find the person fast, alive and well, and I do not want to be an obstacle to that process.

Some people argue that police is too intrusive, and they believe that police is undertaking this search because they run out of ideas. I beg to defer. First of all, I cannot imagine that police would undertake massive search of the area, knocking on every one's door for not reason. It would not be reasonable. Of course, I am talking about the search for Mariam Makhniashvili. The fact that police does not tell media if they have any evidence does not necessarily mean that they are empty handed. By now, I am sure that they have some leads, and that is the reason for their return to, what some call, "ground zero".

This morning I saw around 10 detectives walking out of Mariam's building. I felt for a moment as if finally they are doing something for real to find her. It will be exactly two months on this Saturday since Mariam vanished on her way to school. Will they find her alive? Is she hiding, or hidden somewhere in the neighbourhood? Where is she and what happened? Maybe we will get answers very soon. Until I hear otherwise, I remain hopeful.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Search for Mariam Makhniashvili continues

It has been now almost two months since Mariam Makhniashvili disappeared. I strongly believed from the very beginning that no stone should be left unturned. However, things have been happening very slowly. The measure of how slow everything around her disappearance has been happening is the fact that it took me four days to find out what happened, and I live literally next door to her building and to her school. I had no idea for four straight days that this young woman had disappeared. It makes me wonder, why? Weren't we who live in immediate neighborhood supposed to be summoned somewhere, on the day one, or even day two, and asked: "Have you seen this girl?" But no, it took officials a week even to talk to her school mates. It took them a month to find the backpack, that was tossed from one location to another, by bunch of close to illiterate people, who do not read newspapers, nor they watch TV. I apologize to those who say they are hard working construction people who have no time to watch TV, but, nevertheless, there are so many ways to stay informed in this day and age. I know that I have an issue with people who saw the backpack and did not make the connection. Not that I am angry with them, it is more that I am in disbelief that the backpack could have sat in the plain view of so many people and no one did something: call superintendent, take it to the nearest school, look if there is an ID and possibly phone number and address in it. How can anyone think that a student will leave their backpack unattended for a month??? It does not make sense to me to think that way.

Now police is going door to door in Bathurst Street, Eglinton Avenue and Chaplin Crescent triangle. Knocking on every one's door, asking for permission to check rooms, closets, even refrigerators. If letting them in, to help them find Mariam, is the most I can do at this point, I am happy to do that. I spent hours thinking what happened to her: was she abducted, did she meet with someone and then became abducted, did she leave on her own accord with desire to walk out of her life, and is hiding somewhere with some one's help, or did she walk somewhere where she met some misfortune, either by taking her own life, or someone else hurt her. I went over different scenarios, about what could have possibly happened to her and why. I contemplated that she may have been high functioning person with autism, because it appears that she had some difficulty communicating, not only because of lack of knowledge of English language. But I have no evidence for any of my theories. In the beginning I strongly believed that she was abducted, then I started thinking that she just walked somewhere, in the park, in the ravine, and then... Who knows?

It has been almost two months of questions, anguish for the family, uncertainty for the neighborhood, and time of constant thinking about: What happened to Mariam Makhniashvili? And while police is doing their job, looking around and trying to connect the dots, I am looking thought my window into the fall in Toronto, thinking why we as people are not more connected and more concerned about each other. Is it too much to ask?