More than 30 years after 2-month-old baby Azaria Chamberlain disappeared on a family camping trip in Australia, her mother Lindy Chamberlain finally has an answer to what happened to her baby. And the answer is what she knew all along: a dingo took her.
Yes, after years of trial and her name being dragged through the mud and even a movie with Meryl Streep -- A Cry in the Dark -- made about her life, Chamberlain has some kind of vindication. But it must be too little, too late.
In 1981, when baby Azaria first disappeared, a dingo took the fall. But a year later Chamberlain was charged with murder after a second inquest was opened. She served three years in prison.
Let that sink in: She endured harassment, a trial, public scorn, and derision followed by prison ALL after having lost her infant. There is nothing that could ever make up for that.
Now, three decades later, a coroner has ruled that what she said in the beginning was true all along, and a case that riveted Australia -- and the world -- finally has an ending. And yet, our hearts still break for her.
She had to prove she wasn't guilty. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? She paid time for a murder she didn't commit and, even worse, she lost her baby.
A dingo did more than take her baby that night. It ruined her entire life. This is a chilling reminder to those of us who blog (and those of you who read them) to go easy on the strong opinions. It may seem obvious. A father may not seem as sad as he should or a husband not grieving as openly for his wife as WE would in that situation. And yet, it's impossible to know. This is why we have a judicial system.
For years people spat at Chamberlain. They howled outside her home like dingos and they assumed they knew the REAL story. These kinds of mobs are dangerous and stupid and they make big mistakes that ruin people's lives.
I can't even begin to imagine what Chamberlain went through. Losing a baby is hard enough, but then to be vilified and treated like dirt by half the public makes it all the more tragic.
It would be nice if some of those who would have gladly burned her at the stake took a look at themselves. But they never will. The damage people do to one another is never really examined and no apology would fix it anyway.
Do you think the way she was treated was wrong?
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