From his childhood days in Mexico, to his experience of censorship in government-owned Mexican media companies, his student years in LA, and his early beginnings as a journalist in the USA, Ramos gives us a personal and touching account of his life.
With a series of intimate portraits of the leading political figures he has interviewed over the years (Castro, George W. Bush, Chavez, Clinton) and the places he has been, he reflects on world events and how they have changed, not only humanity, but his own life.
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September 01, 2003
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Excerpt from No Borders by Jorge Ramos
I wanted only to try to live in accordance with the promptings that came from my true self Why was that so very difficult?
-- Herman Hesse
The past is indestructible.
-- Jorge Luis Borges
"What do you dream about?" journalist Dennis Farney asked me. "I dream about my house," I replied, "my house in Mexico." Farney's front-page article for the Wall Street Journal was published prior to the 2000 presidential elections, and it introduced me to many non-Spanish-speaking Americans who would otherwise never have heard of me. The article, however, did not include my response about my house. Fortunately, politics -- not my dreams -- dominated the country.
Unlike my days, which are filled with news of wars, violence, assassinations and coup d'?tats, and the constant traveling and stressful, unstructured schedules, my dreams are almost boring. They are my refuge. Those dreams, in fact, are a desperate search for balance. For someone whose profession -- journalism, what else? -- does not allow him to be certain in the morning where he's going to be sleeping that night, dreaming is an escape. One day I woke up in Los Angeles and I went to bed amid the ruins of a city in Mexico that had just been devastated by an earthquake; another day I woke up in Miami and went to sleep opposite a Berlin wall that was falling to pieces; one morning I opened my eyes in Madrid, and only exhaustion drove me to collapse in a rickety bed just a few feet from the bombing in Kosovo.
These are the reasons I live without tranquility, without inner peace, and why in my mind I often escape to the house in Mexico, to that house where I lived most of my childhood and adolescence and which still represents stability and serenity. That is my real home, my only home.
Sometimes I dream I am walking calmly from one side of that twostory house to the other. I climb the stairs as if I were floating to the room I share with my brother Alejandro, and I glance over at my other brothers Eduardo and Gerardo, who are playing in their bedroom behind an arch that never had a door. I smile without opening my mouth. I hear my sister, Lourdes, placing her dolls on the high, white, squeaky bed. I leave my room and see the small bathroom with its blue tiles; it's open, the sink is stained with toothpaste, the hamper of dirty clothes overflowing and the lid is thrown on the floor. The television is on in the background, but no one is watching it. A few steps away is my parents' room, its giant bed covered with a green and gold bedspread. I never did find out how many meters long that bed was! I look out the window and there is the garden, a bit neglected but still green, which my father waters when he comes home from work. My mother is downstairs in the kitchen. On the left side of the kitchen there is an enormous stainless steel counter with five glasses of chocolate milk lined up. It is the metal plank that my father brought home from one of his construction jobs. The stoves emit a white, rich and comforting steam; it's coming from the pressure cooker for the frijoles. The tomato sauce for the cheese stew is simmering next to it, and in the center of the stove is a pile of tortillas, puffed up by the warm air. I cross the kitchen, go out to the patio and smell the clean white sheets that are hanging in the sun. When I get to this point, I almost always wake up. Some times I open my eyes ever so slowly, trying to return to the dream. When I am successful, I see myself playing soccer with my brothers in the garden or hanging from a green handrail next to a tree that never bore any avocadoes. I can't always return to my dream. It doesn't matter; I was in my house. I am calm. I know where I come from.
I come from that house on 10 Hacienda de Piedras Negras Street. Bosque de Echegaray, Estado de Mexico: I can still remember my phone number. Really. 560-51-20. I might forget many things, but not that address and my telephone number. If I were to forget them. I would lose my center; I wouldn't know where to go when I get lost, when I am confused, when the world seems too big for me.
When I return to Mexico I like to go by the house and look at it from afar. The last time I went, it still had a green gate and a red roof. Interestingly enough, that same house -- located just a few feet from a noisy superhighway and smothered by pollution, surrounded by a hardware store, a hospital and a homeopathic pharmacy -- produced a wonderful internal peace in me.
I have often been on the verge of getting out of the car, ringing the yellowish bell and asking whoever lived there-my parents sold the house and moved to an apartment -- to let me in to see the house. I admit that I have felt like climbing over the gate the way I used to when I was a child and had forgotten the key. That movement, that metallic rattle, reminds me of those days when nothing -- not even a gate -- could stop me.