Colin Farrell this week released a statement in support of of BeLonG To Youth Service’s STAND UP! Campaign, an anti-bullying campaign in Ireland, and spoke about the abuse endured by his gay brother Eamon (above).
"I can't remember much about the years of physical and emotional abuse my brother Eamon suffered. I was very small. The thing i do remember though, quite literally, is blood on his school shirt when he came home in the afternoon. The beatings and taunting were very frequent for my him and a constant part of his school years. I didn't understand at that time the concept of 'difference'. Back then, as now, he was just my big brother. If I did understand what difference was I understood it in the most pure and unaffected childlike way. To me then, as a child, difference meant being left out. Joy and laughter came with being included, being embraced, and BELONGING to.
People are often afraid of difference. They feel that anything that causes fear, should be turned away from. My brother represented fear for so many people, but caused joy in my life. From a very young age he made me laugh with his intelligence and wit, made me aspire to his strength and goodness. He was to be embraced. To many of the students of his school however he was to be feared. He was to be turned away from. I didn't understand it then, and I still don't know. As a race we humans are united and divided by emotions. The mother and father of all emotions, the queen and king are love and fear. Love unites, it brings us closer to an understanding of the possibility of beauty amidst all the confusion and pain that life can bring. Hate is a disease. It is fear's messenger and it makes us do terrible things in a shadow of our better selves, of what we could be.
Intolerance is not genetically encoded – it is taught. It is learned at home. It is learned in the classrooms and it is learned anywhere else we gather as a group. But it is usually learned early and added onto from there. If there is nothing to feared, there is nothing to hate. If there is nothing to hate there is no pain. My brother was so forceful in standing up for who he was, and for the good that he knew was inside of him. Many people missed out on an opportunity, not only to enjoy him, but to enjoy themselves by embracing his "difference". They missed out because they saw him as a threat – not as a testament to the kaleidoscope and diversity of this beautiful world. Bullying is torture, it is another betrayal of basic human decency and its scars reach way into the future of its survivors. But the saddest truth is that not all children survive it. It is a potentially fatal societal illness and must be respected and not feared. Respected and dealt with as a very real problem and as an adversary of a potentially harmonious world, that should have no place for bullies or bullying."