Gael Garcia Bernal mocked for essay on Mexico attacks

Gael Garcia Bernal, the Mexican actor and heart throb, has responded to the bombings in the Mexican state of Michoacan last week with a column for the newspaper El Universal.
The article, written from Europe in complicated Spanish, is a poetic tribute to the eight people who died in last week’s bombings in Morelia, and a lamentation of the state of affairs in Mexico. Garcia Bernal’s father was born in Michoacan.
“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,” writes Bernal.
“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… ”
Garcia Bernal, the star of films including “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “Amores Perros”, revisits his childhood memories and remembers breakfast into the local markets and the smell of tamales – a traditional corncake.
But this morning, another national newspaper, Milenio, published a criticism of Bernal’s piece, lambasting him for having written something in such complicated language using words that “three dictionaries and two encyclopedias” were needed to decipher.
Jairo Calixto’s column treats the actor’s reaction to events in the country in sarcastic tones, and mocks his level of understanding of Mexico’s problems:
“Relax, Gael. Insead 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.”

This post was written for La Plaza, the Los Angeles Times blog on Latin America

Image: Tom Wagner / For The Times