Gael Garcia Bernal Feels His Country's Pain

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The LA Times reported today that Gael Garcia Bernal was blasted by Milenio newspaper columnist Jairo Calixto this morning for writing an editorial in El Universal newspaper Tuesday that expressed much sadness about the recent grenade attack during Mexican Independence Day celebrations in the state of Michoacan, his father’s birthplace.

The article, written by Bernal from Europe in what’s being called complicated Spanish, is a poetic response to the eight people who died in last week’s bombings in Morelia, and addresses the current  state of affairs in Mexico.

“It hurts me not to be close. To be so far–now more than ever. Instead of feeling relieved for being so far, I feel sad and vulnerable,” Bernal writes. “Why, when I see so much violence, do I feel like the aggression was against my memories, and my identity? Each death robs me of my freedom to remember, an attempt against the future.” Bernal reminisces about his childhood, eating breakfast in the local markets, and the smell of tamales.

While we thought it was deep, Milenio published a criticism of Bernal’s piece that attacked him for using words that “three dictionaries and two encyclopedias” were needed to decipher. Calixto goes on to mock Bernal’s knowledge of Mexico’s problems:

“Relax, Gael. Instead of asking, from a very nice place, ’Why, when I see so much violence, do I feel like the aggression was against my memories, and my identity?,’ we should celebrate the fact that Mexico, for the third year running, has maintained its position as the 72nd most corrupt country in the world.

You say, Gael, that it hurts you to be far away. Don’t you worry–they also say that to be far away is to forget.”


–As reported by Deborah Bonello in Mexico City.