I have featured Dr. Patrick Treacy on this blog as far back as June or July of 2010. He kindly left comments about Michael and shared with me stories about his time with Michael in Ireland. He met Michael after the Santa Maria trial when he was living in Ireland (2006-2007). Michael had approached Patrick hoping he would take him on as a patient while there to help him manage his dermatological conditions. From there, a professional relationship as well as a friendship blossomed. “It was quickly apparent we shared humanitarian ideals and a love of the African continent,” said Dr. Treacy. Treacy is Medical Director of the Ailesbury Clinic in Dublin. You can read previous posts featuring Patrick Treacy on this site here, and here.
Patrick recently posted the lovely tribute below on Facebook and kindly gave me permission to share it here, once again.
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Michael Jackson ‘the forgotten humanitarian’
In Mahavanain Buddhism, there is an enlightened existence known as the ‘bodhisattva’ who decides to postpone attainment of nirvana in order to alleviate the suffering of others. In my own lifetime, I have been fortunate to have met some of these visionaries, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Bono, John Lennon and Michael Jackson. Only five people in nearly half a century, just enough to count on the fingers of one hand. Each of them, intrinsically motivated by a sense of great compassion, generating bodhicitta for the ultimate benefit of all sentient beings. Of course, there have been others, circulating on the peripheries of my own dharma. I knew Lady Diana Spencer during the mid nineties in a medical sense and I had been in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama without having actually met him. All of these people, hugely influential, global messengers using their powers to try and make the world a better place for each of us to live in.
Nelson Mandela stood against the injustice of apartheid, Mother Theresa and Bono against the injustice of poverty, John Lennon against the injustice of war but Michael Jackson went further. His body of artistic work carried a spiritual message for these and all of the other injustices of the human race…those of racism, inequality, disease, hunger and corruption. His song ‘Man in the Mirror’ makes us realise that the path to Nirvana starts within ourselves through meditation and self reflection. “I’m starting with the man in the mirror; I’m asking him to change his ways; no message could have been any clearer; if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”
If Nirvana can be loosely described as an idealised state free of worries, pain and mental anguish, we all know that Michael never achieved this state, seemingly forever trapped in a state of the ‘bodhisattva’ with the temporal green grasses and sundials of Neverlands becoming its earthly substitute. His efforts at generating bodhicitta however are unfortunately rarely mentioned any more. Few people remember that he donated all of the money from the song we just mentioned above to charity. Following the 1984 Victory Tour, he donated his $5 million share from the tour’s profits to charity. In 1985, he co-wrote the single “We Are the World” with Lionel Richie and donated all of the proceeds to help the needy in Africa. Almost 20 million copies of “We Are the World” were sold, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. The project raised millions for famine relief.
In fact, the first time I met Michael, his opening words to me were “Thank you for all you are doing for the people of Africa”. He then proceeded to take out an old magazine from his pocket, which had an article I had written back in 1992 called ‘The Silence of the Savannah’. The article detailed my experiences of coming across empty villages on route through Africa to Capetown and it predicted the eventual rise of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. It began…“Evenings in Kenya are enchanting. It is then that the sun takes on a light of deep red before setting, and barefooted women clothed in loose kangas stir up a light murram dust as they meet us on their way homeward for the night. As dusk falls the swollen rim of the sinking sun runs rivulets of scarlet colour into the skyline and silhouettes the acacia trees on the hillsides around us. This is the unchanging magic in the landscape of Africa, and it is our signal we have travelled enough for the day. We turn into the bush to find some shade and set up camp. In the distance we can hear some voices from a nearby ‘manyatta’, and the sound of barking dogs disturbs the stillness of the dusk….. ….later, we pass many empty villages, abandoned stores and vacant huts that are a testament to the destructive power of the plague whose path we follow. There is an eeriness about these deserted hamlets, and in the restless winds that stir the blue savannah grasses I listen expectantly to hear the noise of barking dogs, or the distant sounds of children playing ….. but no sound comes!” ‘
“You know I cried when I read that”, he continued. “We must do something together for the people of Africa”. And his humanitarianism did not stop on the African continent. In 1984, Michael donated his out of court $1.5 million settlement to the Brotman Medical Centre in Culver City, California. This facility was later renamed the “Michael Jackson Burn Center” in honour of his donation. Using this money the facility was able to get the best available technology for treating burn victims, especially children. In 1993, he gave all the profits from 67 concerts over eighteen months on the Dangerous World Tour to the Heal the World Foundation. In 1999, he organised a series of benefit concerts with Mariah Carey, Slash, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti in Germany and Korea. He donated the total proceeds to the “Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund”, the Red Cross and UNESCO. After 911, he helped organise the ‘United We Stand: What More Can I Give’ benefit concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. He also was given a special award from President Ronald Regan for his support of American drug and alcohol charities. His last album, Invincible has a song called Cry. It is a song about the collective humanity of the earth. It carries a mission to change the world and create a better version of the human. It is a cry from another world. “You can change the world (I can’t do it by myself) You can touch the sky (Gonna take somebody’s help) You’re the chosen one (I’m gonna need some kind of sign) If we all cry at same time tonight”.
That is how I will remember Michael Jackson on his anniversary and maybe in the evening sun as the restless winds stir the blue savannah grasses of far away Africa; ….this is the way his ancestors might also!
-Dr. Patrick Treacy
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I also want to share with you the audio from an interview Dr. Treacy recently did with Rev. Catherine Gross of ‘A Place in Your Heart Radio‘. Patrick discusses how Michael and himself shared a common love of Africa and its people. He also tells how Michael’s fans are moving through the different stages of grief, almost like a bereavement reaction. He explains that their anger is really just part of coming to terms with their loss. His brother Raymond specially wrote the music for this video. He sings with a French band called ‘The Tones’.
Patrick also, and not for the first time, mentions that Michael didn’t even want a painkiller after some surgery. He just dealt with the pain. This counters the many accounts by others that Michael was abusing drugs or painkillers. Though others remember differently, Dr. Treacy’s remembrance of Michael is evidently not one of an abuser of drugs.
If you remember, Dr. Treacy also said in a video I referenced in a previous post:
Michael was a creation of the media, and often, the media didn’t want to hear the truth about Michael….the media are chasing me right now. They want me to put some dirt out about Michael, and it doesn’t exist!…They wanted to hound him to death, to crucify him, to put him in jail.
. . .
AEG, the company involved may have pushed his doctor to the extent that, because he wasn’t turning up for performances and that, that they wanted to get him technically – to cure his insomnia and of course a lot of drugs were given to him.
Now I know for a fact – and this is where Dublin will probably sit on the trial, that Michael would never involve himself with any of the drugs mentioned without the presence of an anesthetist.
Also, Reflections on the Dance recently did an interview with Dr. Patrick Treacy. Below, I’ll share some excepts from that interview which deal with the issue of drugs and the media’s penchant for wanting to portray Michael as a drug-addled freak prior to the trial of Conrad Murray. I have also mentioned this issue in my comments about the show Oprah did with Lisa-Marie Presley on October 21st.
In this interview, Dr. Treacy also shared information about Michael’s faith and “secret humanitarianism”, about the abusive, profit-driven media in general, and about Michael’s vitiligo and lupus. In regards to the potential upcoming trial of Conrad Murray, Patrick said:
There are forces trying to smear his name prior to the new trial in Los Angeles. The media are gearing up to throw more missiles at a ‘freak‘ who was ‘addicted to drugs‘ and who was probably guilty of pedophilia even though he was acquitted of all charges relating to the same.
There are two types of media presently functioning in our society. One, like the ‘BBC’ embraces objectivity and sees its function to provide credible documentaries and news commentaries primarily written for its listeners and readers. This type of professional reporter is usually devoid of having to please advertisers with high volume of sales, television audience management (TAM ratings) or ABC numbers. The other type of reporter pens stories that are written solely to please advertisers. These are usually subjective, lack credibility and push the limits of legality. Their information sources often lack proper credentials and may be untrustworthy.
Unfortunately, most people in our western society are poorly informed or inadequately educated and sometimes may not be able to differentiate between the subjective components of the believability of a source or message. The media plays on these people to generate sales of their publications. To achieve high volume they must write about someone who a lot of people know. The absence of regulation in this marketplace leads to gross defamation of character and this is legally easier whenever the person in question is deceased.
This media’s penchant for intentionally misreporting facts caused Patrick himself to want to protect Michael from them, and from a public that too easily believes their misinformation while Michael’s noble intentions become lost in the lies and sensationalism. Patrick was fully aware of how it would be played out in the media and how it would appear to the public if Michael followed his heart and visited some badly burned children at Crumlin Childrens’ Hospital in Dublin. Patrick denied Michael’s request to visit the children. Not because he did not trust Michael, but rather because he rightly did not trust what would happen if the media got hold of the story, particularly so soon after Michael’s trial had ended. Thus, he told Michael: “Your innocence will get you into trouble!”
Dr. Treacy also commented on Michael’s vitiligo and lupus:
It is well documented that in 1986, Michael was diagnosed with Vitiligo and Lupus. Vitiligo is a chronic disorder that causes depigmentation of patches of skin. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. The cause of vitiligo is unknown, but research suggests that is may arise from autoimmune, genetic, oxidative stress, neural, or viral causes. Lupus is a condition which affects different people in differing ways. These vary from skin manifestations, to swollen joints to extreme fatigue. Both of these conditions made him sensitive to sunlight (hence the umbrella you saw him with every time he was outdoors) as the Vitiligo would may him susceptible to skin cancer, and his lupus could reactivate from remission. It is also well documented that he used topical medications to balance his different skin tones and these would also leave him susceptible to ultraviolet radiation effects.
As we know, the autopsy revealed the truth about Michael’s skin condition, yet the perception of him as having “bleached his skin because he didn’t want to be black“, and of him being a ‘freak‘, are firmly implanted in the minds of the public by a decades-long for-profit negative propaganda campaign carried out against Michael by the corporate-owned media.
Michael was one of the biggest humanitarians who has ever lived. Yet he never flaunted or even mentioned much all the work he did, all the causes he supported, all the help and money he donated around the world all his life. Besides that, the media deliberately ignores these stories because they don’t fit in with their mantra of Michael as a child-molesting freak (and such stories also don’t pad their corporate profits enough with high ratings). Says Patrick about Michael’s faith and humanitarianism and why he kept the true extent of his giving private:
Michael was deeply Christian and believed that private acts of charity were considered virtuous only if not done for others to admire. We should be reminded of Matthew 6:1 when Jesus says “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness in front of others, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
True to his faith and belief system, Michael did much of his humanitarian work to be seen by the eyes of God, not the eyes of anyone else.
Given all that we know, and all that Michael’s friends know about Michael Jackson, it would be much more appropriate if the media would spend as much time reporting on his artistic and humanitarian work as they do desperately trying to define him as a drug-addled, paranoid, child-molesting freak in order to protect and satisfy various corporate profits. Until and unless they do, or until there are laws enacted to protect the public from media’s habit of assassinating the character and lives of innocent people, it is up to all of us to ensure that the real Michael Jackson is never forgotten.