For the love of Liam

When I earned a living as a journalist writing about telly, I was always moaning about the fact that celebrities could never be ‘real’ once the dictaphone was turned on. They’d talk about the role, the script and how working with so and so was an absolute joy, and that’d be your lot. It was a constant struggle not to churn out a stream of anodyne articles.

I see now that celebs have a point. You really can’t be open and honest in today’s society. One slip of the tongue, you’ll be pilloried and the fans will be out there waving pitch forks and demanding that you retire to a dark cave never to be seen again.

Liam Neeson is all over the media today thanks to saying that he once took to the streets with a stick so that he could kill a random black man after a friend was raped by a black man.

Before I continue, obviously, I don’t condone anyone rampaging the streets with any kind of weapon, looking for people of any colour, creed, sexuality etc to murder. I just wanted to put that out there before I get any hate mail.

Liam is 66. He’s been around the block a few times and is clearly mature enough to know that we are all light and shade. Every single one of us has said and done things we wish we hadn’t. That’s life. It’s how we evolve. I think he hoped his comment would be taken in that vein. His point being, that sometimes we experience emotions so keenly, we are driven to do things we are deeply ashamed of.

‘It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,’ he said. ‘And I’ve never admitted that.¬†Revenge, it just leads to more revenge, to more and more killing. All that stuff that’s happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that you know.’

His remarks have been called ‘Terrifying, sickening and saddening’ but I don’t see them that way when I read them in context. I don’t think he’s a racist either, but then I can’t be an authority on that because I am as white as milk.

Shouldn’t we all be able to speak openly about our deepest, darkest moments without fear of retribution? Isn’t shame and secretiveness just going to lead to yet more violence in this world?

Poor Liam. He thought he was offering up something insightful, not a newsworthy line that could destroy his career.

Yes, Liam Neeson did do something racist many years ago. He assumed that any black man is responsible for the behaviour of one. What he did was ugly, awful and I’ll say it again, racist, but that doesn’t mean he is any of those things today. My spiritual mentor Marion¬†often talks about this. She explains that we are different people on a daily basis – sometimes even on an hourly basis. We are ever changing. I am certainly not the same person I was when I tried to strangle my best friend at primary school (it’s okay, she lived to tell the tale!).

Liam’s misdemeanour happened decades ago. He openly admitted that he is not proud of what he did. He hangs his head in shame. Can’t we be grown-up enough to accept that and applaud him for having the guts to admit he is fatally flawed like the rest of us?

 

 

 

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