Letters to the Editor

America’s treatment of Jackson unfair

At 5 years old, Michael Jackson was immediately the leader and star of the Jackson 5. His father was very severe with his kids, especially with his most talented one. He forced Michael to practice every day for a dozen hours, beat him up when he was tired or made mistakes, and banned him from playing with other kids. Michael shared the same room with his older brothers. When the Jackson 5 became famous, Michael’s brothers would secretly bring girls to the bedroom and have sex while young Michael listened with disgust.

At 10 years old, MJ would become so famous that he could no longer go outside, whether to play in the park or even buy an ice cream. He was the loneliest kid in the world and a prisoner of his own home, where all he could do was sing and dance.

When you have a childhood like MJ’s, what would you do and become? Most stars fell into the sex-and-drugs lifestyle and died before 50. MJ decided to build a huge park in his Los Angeles mansion with his favorite cartoon characters, allow kids and their parents to come play for free, and live the childhood he always dreamed of. He even talks, behaves and thinks like a kid. He also donated huge amounts of money to charities that help deprived children around the world, saving thousands of lives in third-world countries.

I won’t deny that MJ probably developed a few psychological disorders due to his childhood, fortune and fame, but that doesn’t mean he’s a child molester. Like every famous person, MJ had some enemies. The Los Angeles chief of police was one of them. After few years of disputes, he became responsible for initiating MJ’s biggest controversy. MJ decided to settle the first accusation with money in order to avoid a long court case and more negative media attention. Years later, when a second accusation emerged, he realized rumors wouldn’t disappear and people would continue to damage his reputation and try to take advantage of his fortune. This time there was a court case, and justice was on his side. The accuser had tried to take advantage of other rich people by accusing them of molestation too.

But in my opinion, those who took most advantage of MJ are the American media and their viewers. In general, Americans are always hungry for more drama, and the media are always successful in feeding in to them, often exaggerating events and distorting facts to make them more entertaining.

In college in California, I had an MJ tapestry hanging in my living room wall. During a party, a sick-minded guest accused me of being a child molester for hanging this poster.

Unlike in America, MJ is loved and respected everywhere in the world, where most people believe MJ is a sad, innocent victim of the American media. He reached the highest world popularity in human history.

In 1995 I came to America, the same year MJ gave his first concert in Africa, in my country Tunisia. All my friends made it, so I decided to save money and go see him the following summer, no matter where he played. I ended up seeing him in Amsterdam, where I bought the tapestry. It was by far the best concert I ever saw. I was in the first row. While he was performing, I raised a Tunisian flag and he pointed at me then gave me thumbs-up. I feel very honored and privileged to have lived to see Michael Jackson in concert.

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