Archive for September, 2009

It’s been almost three months since Michael Jackson died yet the world, myself included, can’t seem to stop mourning his loss. After the initial shock, the ensuing rush of emotions from numb disbelief, to mounting anger at apparent American and British media disrespect of his memory  to a deep unfathomable sorrow that easily brings on tears. Since then, each day I seem to discover new things about him that only stoke the burning rage within at the injustices heaped upon him by the cruel and heartless media. Even in death and oblivious to the grief of his children, family and millions who mourn him, there are still sensationalist media that continue to embellish their obituaries with slanted coverage while weaving inuendoes and speculations that tarnish his memory.  From dragging up his child molestation trial (for which he was completely exonerated) to questioning the paternity of his children, scrutinising his sex life, and even blaming him for his own death, the media has indeed stooped so low that as a result Michael Jackson stands fully vindicated.

As a former journalist myself, I followed Michael Jackson’s after-death coverage, both in online media news reports and TV broadcasts posted on YouTube. Having read the tabloid trash about his supposedly emaciated, needle-riddled and drug-induced nightmarish last days, I was pleasantly surprised to see a healthy, albeit a bit too thin, Michael  doing what only he can do best as he prepared for his London concerts. The recent unveiling of the “This Is It” trailer debunks so many media lies about MJs state of mental and physical health that it just goes to show how many false reports have been trumped up by the unscrupulous media to sell their worthless rags. “This Is It” begs the question, how come a man who looked perfectly healthy and happy only days before suddently end up dead, purportedly of a drug overdose? 

His sudden death just does not make sense!!! Media speculators had so smugly declared, especially the demonishly smirking Diane Dimond, that the drug addicted star had accidentaly overmedicated himself and had even begged to be put out of his misery in a supposedly assisted suicide. But stories of his drug addiction from so-called friends and insiders-in-the-know  just did not jive with MJ’s character and certainly not when he has three young children to whom he was clearly devoted. It was not until the coroner ruled his death a homicide, by propofol intoxication administered by another, did the shameless assisted suicide speculation end. My God, MJ died when all he wanted to do was get some sleep? If he was trying to kill himself why would he hire a nutritionist to help with his insomnia, a personal chef to feed him well and even a personal doctor to help take care of him? The stupidity and bull-headedness of the gutter media knows no bounds of decency.  Results of the homicide probe is pending and is bound to be explosive.

As the world recoils in horror at the realisation that MJ could have been murdered, the tributes are pouring in from all corners of the globe. Madonna in her moving speech at the MTV tribute to Michael Jackson only touched the surface of how bad his life must have been like:

…Then the witch hunt began, and it seemed like one negative story after another was coming out about Michael. I felt his pain, I know what it’s like to walk down the street and feel like the whole world is turned against you. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and unable to defend yourself because the roar of the lynch mob is so loud you feel like your voice can never be heard.

But I had a childhood, and I was allowed to make mistakes and find my own way in the world without the glare of the spotlight.

When I first heard that Michael had died, I was in London, days away from the start of my tour. Michael was going to perform in the same venue as me a week later. All I could think about in this moment was, “I had abandoned him.” That we had abandoned him. That we had allowed this magnificent creature who had once set the world on fire to somehow slip through the cracks. While he was trying to build a family and rebuild his career, we were all passing judgement. Most of us had turned our backs on him.

The truth is Michael Jackson’ died a slow and agonising death, dispirited, disillusioned and broken, ever since  the airing of Martin Bashir’s documentary “Living with Michael Jackson” in 2003. The subsequent court trial for child molestation and the horrific cruelty of the ensuing media barrage of  what can only be described as a modern day public lynching flogged this innocent man mercilessly until it killed him. Read the books : “Michael Jackson Conspiracy” by Aphrodite Jones and “Redemption: The Truth Behind the Michael Jackson Child Molestation Allegations” by Geraldine Hughes before you make up your mind about MJHis only guilt was that he was a black man who dared to be more famous, more rich and more successful that any white man. For someone who suffered from vitiligo, discoid lupus and endless pain, MJ remained childlike, perfectly gracious under pressure and beautiful to the last. His movie “This Is It” will be testament to the enormous legacy he leaves behind and will forever silence his doubters. I believe that this time the media cannot hide their bloodstained hands and they will never be able to wash the stink off all the crap they have ever written about Michael Jackson.          

Initially,  I had wanted to know if Michael Jackson would be accorded a Muslim burial. However details of his conversion to Islam are sketchy and aside from dubious news reports, he has never confirmed this openly. Also, he never altered his will to stipulate how he wanted to be buried and there was no legal standing that would allow for such and thus, he was buried a Christian (presumably a Jehovah Witness though he left it in the 1980s), more than 70 days after his death. Considering how massive he was a superstar, I doubted that neither his family nor the American public or the non-Muslim world would have been willing to relinquish him to Islam. We will never know in the world in which he lived, how the impact such a conversion would have had on his career, his lifetyle and his personal safety. Conspiracy theories abound already. Somehow, I believe Michael Jackson was a person who embraced universal values of goodness in all religions and was spiritual in a way that did not pin him down to any specific faith. In trying to be all things to all peoples, he wanted to avoid conflict and to spread his message of love everywhere. After reading his book “Dancing the Dream” written in 1992, I realised that Michael was indeed a deeply spiritual person who was sensitive to the pain of others. As it stands, only Allah knows the truth. 



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