Now that Wikileaks has published all those documents proving that Big Brother is none other than the CIA or the NSA or whatever department is in charge of HOMELAND security at the moment, I see no harm in sharing my own experience. About 2-3 weeks ago, I requested my ESTA document which is the form one has to fill out for entrance into the USA from Countries with a Visa Waiver Status. Although the format has changed and a thousand new questions are being asked (about other passports, other citizenships and your intentions to commit a terrorist crime while in the USA), I had no trouble filling it in. About three hours later, I checked and my ESTA had been approved. No problem.
The following day, however, I received a notice from Microsoft that someone from somewhere in the USA had entered into my computer. They asked if that someone was me. It was not; I am in France at the moment. So, curious, I clicked on the link that said something like “See from where your computer was entered” and … I´ll give you 3 guesses and the first two don’t count: Yup! Washington. Was it a coincidence? I don’t actually think so. So Washington tapped into my computer. Fortunately, I have nothing to hide and my life hangs out there on my blog for all to see, so it doesn’t frighten me, but it is NOT legal. And it is not pretty.
I used to feel proud to be an American. When I was little and living in Mexico, I remember how I would stand at attention and salute if the American flag or the National Anthem came over the radio or the televisión. If anyone asked me where I came from, I would puff up when I said the United States. It was my country, even though I had lived in Mexico since the age of 9. I went to boarding school at Dana Hall in Wellesley, Massachusetts and once there, I felt as American as the next person even though my vacations were spent in Mexico City. Even when, later on, I married a Mexican doctor, I still felt American and used my American Passport when I travelled.
It wasn’t until the Vietnam War that something changed. I don’t think anyone felt proud of that war or actually believed that it was carried out for a ‘higher purpose’. I remember writing a long, and very bad, poem about my profound disappointment in what my country had done, and I began to feel embarrassed about being an American.
I was already in my 30’s and had two children when I went to the National University of Mexico to study Hispanic Language and Literatures. It was there that I realized that I had stopped feeling American, that I was actually more identified with Mexico and that Spanish had become my principal language and English was secondary. I started to write in Spanish and publish in Mexico; my name appeared in the Diccionario de Escritores Mexicanos (the Dictionary of Mexico Writers). I was Mexican in everything but my Passport.
After my divorce, I decided to legalize my adopted country as my own and I became Mexican, renouncing my American Citizenship. Little did I suspect that only three years later I would move to Spain and claim my father’s nationality. At that time, the European Unión was a dream coming true and I definitely wanted to be part of it. My Spanish Passport gave me that possibility. Now it is the only one I use. Today, as I watch my country of origin turned into a global laughing stock, I feel sad. I remember how proud my father was when he got his US citizenship and how he defended the United States against any criticism; I think of my son who is grateful to the US for the opportunities this country has given him to grow in his selected line of work; I look at my own heritage and there is no way I am not as American as the day I was born, but when Microsoft advises me that someone from Washington has gone into my computer the day after I requested entry into the USA, I feel like publically saying to someone: “You should be ashamed of yourselves!”
So there it is, said and done.