Os comentários conspirativos de Estrela Serrano

Não costumo responder a posts colocados em outros blogues. Não é para isso que O Informador serve. Mas vou abrir uma excepção, por causa deste comentário de Estrela Serrano à capa da Sábado. Faço-o apenas porque, por ser professora universitária de jornalismo, uma investigadora da área dos média e também pelas responsabilidades que já teve como assessora de imprensa de Mário Soares, Estrela Serrano devia ser um pouco mais responsável nos comentários que faz ao que se passa na imprensa.

  1. Ao contrário do que escreve Estrela Serrano, a Sábado não antecipou a notícia que era para saír na 5ª feira. Como ela tem obrigação de saber, a Sábado, como a Visão, chega aos assinantes à quarta-feira. É por isso que o fecho de edição decorre entre segunda-feira e terça-feira. Foi por isso que a SIC Notícias mostrou a revista em directo a meio da tarde de quarta-feira. A única coisa que a Sábado fez, e que faz todas as semanas, foi colocar a capa da revista no site e na página de Facebook para os leitores saberem o que poderão comprar no dia seguinte. É assim há anos. Tal como todas as noites vemos as capas dos jornais do dia seguinte nas revistas de imprensa das televisões.
  2. A Procuradoria Geral da República não desmentiu a notícia da Sábado.
  3. Estrela Serrano está errada. Não houve nenhuma “estratégia”, nem a Sábado recebeu “um sopro vindo do sítio do costume”. Este trabalho está a ser preparado há várias semanas, com uma cuidada confirmação de factos, cruzamento de fontes, pesquisas de empresas e consultas em conservatórias. Para o perceber bastaria ter lido o texto antes de fazer qualquer comentário. Ou conhecer o trabalho e reputação do jornalista que a assina.
  4. Estrela Serrano esquece-se qual a função dos jornalistas – contar histórias, revelar segredos, dar notícias. Independentemente de quem elas envolvam. Foi isso que a Sábado fez, com respeito por todos os princípios deontológicos da profissão. Por isso, dizer que “não interessa se a notícia é ou não verdadeira porque se não é podia ser” é, no mínimo, ofensivo. E as ofensas ficam com quem as profere. Porque normalmente são um reflexo dos próprios.
  5. José Sócrates desmentiu. É verdade. Resta saber porque não o fez quando foi confrontado com a informação.
  6. Todo o raciocínio de Estrela Serrano parece estar montado à volta de uma suposta conspiração contra José Sócrates. É interessante que não tenha sido elaborado um raciocínio semelhante quando a Sábado (através do mesmo jornalista) noticiou a iminência da prisão de Duarte Lima, nem, mais recentemente, o esquema de fuga ao fisco por parte de Ricardo Salgado. Ou seja, parece que para Estrela Serrano há conspirações apenas quando elas envolvem socialistas.

Socrates

Os desmentidos muito peculiares da Procuradoria Geral da República

A Procuradoria Geral da República tem um hábito pouco saudável de jogar com as palavras – e assim, enganar os portugueses. Não é de agora. Esperava-se que melhorasse. Mas pelos vistos não melhora. Ontem houve mais um exemplo.

Vejamos. Em reacção à notícia que faz hoje a capa da Sábado, a PGR emitiu uma nota de imprensa onde escreve: “Na sequência de notícias vindas a público nas últimas horas, esclarece-se que José Sócrates não está a ser investigado nem se encontra entre os arguidos constituídos no Processo Monte Branco.” À primeira vista é um desmentido. Preto no branco. Certo? Errado. No texto que chega amanhã às bancas, é dito que o ex-primeiro-ministro está sob vigilância há vários meses, que o MP já o ponderou deter e que as suspeitas incluem o primo que apareceu no caso Freeport e o amigo que comprou as casas da mãe de José Sócrates. Mas também é dito, claramente, logo no segundo parágrafo, o seguinte: “A operação Monte Branco, que já deu origem a vários processos-crime autónomos, incluindo aquele em que é visado José Sócrates…” Ou seja, o caso surgiu no processo Monte Branco, mas não faz parte do processo Monte Branco. É uma investigação autónoma. Logo, a PGR não está a mentir. Mas também não está a dizer a verdade. Está a desmentir uma coisa que não foi noticiada. A jogar com as palavras.

Não é a primeira vez que isso acontece. A última devia estar bem presente na memória de todos os jornalistas que acompanham esta área. A 30 de Janeiro de 2013, a PGR emitiu um comunicado em que garantia que Ricardo Salgado não era suspeito no caso Monte Branco e que não existiam indícios de crimes fiscais. Não é preciso recordar o que aconteceu na última semana.

Mas há mais. Quando Pinto Monteiro ocupava o lugar de Joana Marques Vidal, a PGR também desmentiu a existência de suspeitas sobre ministros do governo PS relacionadas com o caso Freeport. Como também desmentiu que as cartas rogatórias inglesas incluíssem matéria criminalmente relevante relacionadas com governantes socialistas. Foi preciso esperar pelo despacho de arquivamento do processo para saber que ficaram por fazer 27 perguntas a Pedro Silva Pereira e a José Sócrates.

E os submarinos? Sim, a então directora do Departamento Central de Investigação e Acção Penal, Cândida Almeida, também afirmou que não havia indícios de natureza criminal contra Paulo Portas. Mas nas cartas rogatórias enviadas para o Reino Unido, o MP insinuava que o líder do CDS era suspeito e um dos alvos da investigação.

Claro que podemos ir mais atrás. Ficou célebre a entrevista do então Procurador Geral da República, Souto Moura, a dizer na televisão que “aparentemente” Carlos Cruz não era suspeito no processo Casa Pia (não encontrei link directo). Mais tarde o apresentador revelou mesmo que, após um encontro, Souto Moura lhe disse “vá descansado”. Pouco depois, Carlos Cruz era preso.

Portanto, volto ao início. A PGR tem um hábito pouco saudável de jogar com as palavras. De desmentir o que não está em causa. De desmentir o que está escrito nos processos judiciais. De desmentir os próprios magistrados. De desmentir o que está prestes a acontecer. Portanto, de mentir. E isso diz muito sobre o estado da justiça.

Socrates

Coisas da Sábado

Amanhã nas bancas: Sócrates é suspeito no caso Monte Branco; a vida de Ricardo Salgado depois da queda; a última vez de Alberto João Jardim; vice-ministra chinesa fez censura em Portugal; Berlim queixou-se de cônsul português; Fornos de Algodres, o municipio mais endividado do País; entrevista ao ex-guarda costas-de de Fidel Castro; Helena Fazenda, a nova superpolícia; os The Portuguese Kids estão a fazer rir a América; Evaristo Realejo, o pioneiro dos saltos radicais para a água; e muito mais.

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A atracção pelo dinheiro da Guiné-Equatorial

A Guiné Equatorial é, por estes dias, um destino atractivo. Não só para angolanos, brasileiros e portugueses. É também um alvo preferêncial de empresários espanhóis e, sobretudo, de ex-políticos transformados em homens de negócios. É o caso do ex-presidente do governo Espanhol, José Luiz Zapatero e dos ex-ministros José Bono y Miguel Ángel Moratinos. Os três foram vistos e fotografados recentemente em Malabo, a capital da Guiné Equatorial, onde, segundo o jornal El Confidencial, têm estado várias vezes a actuar como lobbistas em nome de empresas castelhanas que querem entrar no mais recente membro da CPLP. Em troca dos seus contactos receberão comissões avultadas.

Em Portugal correm rumores de que ex-políticos também têm passado várias vezes em Malabo. Até agora, não apareceram provas. A ser verdade, será uma questão de tempo.

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Bono, Zapatero e Moratinos, no passado dia 2 de Julho, num restaurante de Malabo. (Foto: El Confidencial)

O problema de ter memória: a lenda dos milagres de Jesus

Nos últimos tempos, as palavras que mais temos ouvido dos jogadores que chegam ao Benfica é “quero aprender com o mister Jesus” ou “quero crescer com Jesus”. Foi o que disse Bebé, o mais recente reforço benfiquista, depois de quatro anos emprestado pelo Manchester United, onde se celebrizou pelos cruzamentos para a bancada. Mas não é isso que interessa. O que é verdadeiramente importante é que foi criada à volta de Jorge Jesus uma aura milagrosa de formador e potenciador de talentos futebolísticos. Chamo-lhe o síndrome Coentrão. Diz a lenda que, de fracasso em potência, o Fábio de Caxinas transformou-se no melhor lateral esquerdo português. Graças a Jesus. É o que diz a lenda. Mas a lenda não resiste à memória. Nem aos factos.

Em 2009/2010, Jorge Jesus não queria Fábio Coentrão no plantel. O destino era um novo empréstimo. À sua frente, para o treinador, estavam César Peixoto, Jorge Ribeiro e até David Luiz. Terá sido Luís Filipe Vieira a obrigar o técnico a ficar com a jovem promessa portuguesa. O seu destino: o banco ou a bancada. Até que, numa determinada fase da época, os dois laterais e o central estavam lesionados. E Jesus foi obrigado a colocar Coentrão em campo. Correu bem. E Jesus – como sempre acontece quando as coisas correm bem – reclamou os louros. Nascia a lenda da aura milagrosa de potenciador de talentos.

O problema é que, mais uma vez, a lenda não resiste a um exercício de memória. Eu ainda me lembro quando Jesus disse que ia fazer de Yannick Djaló um grande jogador. Alguém sabe onde ele joga hoje? Mas depois de me lembrar do ex-marido de Luciana Abreu resolvi fazer um exercício de memória. E encontrei um camião de talento que Jesus contratou mas não foi capaz de transformar em jogadores de futebol. Preparados? Respirem fundo:

Éder Luís, Keirrison, Roberto, Jara, Élvis (quem?), Carole, José Fernandez (quem?), Leo Kanu (quem?), Derlis Gonzalez (quem?), Bruno César, Wass (quem?), Rodrigo Mora, Melgarejo, Nuno Coelho, Roderick, Mika, Capdevilla, Júlio César, César Peixoto, Shaffer, Airton (quem?), Filipe Menezes, Weldon (quem?), Kardec, Fábio Faria, Yannick Djaló, Urreta, Olá John, Luisinho, Sidnei, Émerson, Luís Martins, Lisandro Lopez, Steven Vitória, Stefan Mitrovic (quem?), Bruno Cortez, Victor Nilsson-Lindelof (quem?), Filip Djuricic, Luís Fariña, Diego Lopes, Michel (quem?) e Funes Mori.

Pronto, confesso. Não me lembrava de todos. A internet é uma coisa maravilhosa. Muitos nem chegaram a vestir o manto vermelho. Simplesmente desapareceram. Ou andam por aí. São 42. E posso ter-me esquecido de algum. Acredito que os contratados deste ano – César, Loris Benito, Djavan, Talisca, Luís Filipe, Eliseu, Victor Andrade, Derley e Bebé – também querem “crescer” com Jesus. Vamos ver onde estarão no fim do ano. Se se juntam ao camião de talento ou se se tornam a excepção.

Foto: Lindsey Parnavy/EPA

Foto: Lindsey Parnavy/EPA

 

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: o purgatório de Lance Armstrong

Quando Lance Armstrong admitiu o consumo de substâncias dopantes, o mundo caiu-lhe em cima. Foi afastado da fundação que criou para promover a luta contra o cancro, perdeu contratos publicitários, chamaram-lhe todos os nomes. O que aconteceu desde então? A reportagem é da revista Esquire.

Foto: Joe Pugliese

Foto: Joe Pugliese

LANCE ARMSTRONG IN PURGATORY: THE AFTER-LIFE

After a great fall, what do we remember? We remember the cheating, and the lies. We remember the cult of personality that we eagerly embraced, and then felt betrayed by. But what of the man who fell? What about the work he didn’t cheat at? What about the 16 years Lance Armstrong spent building a global cancer advocacy? Did it matter? Does it still? Does it matter that Livestrong, the foundation that kicked him out, now wants him back? Do we care what happens to the great work a man has done, after a great fall?

By John H. Richardson

Here in purgatory, the mansion is smaller, but the wine cellar, paneled in rich mahogany and stocked with thousands of bottles, is truly magnificent. The TV will go over on that wall. The lighting system is still being installed but it will be all muted and indirect, like an art gallery.

Upstairs, he leads a tour of his art collection. The work is edgy and full of dark action: a photograph of a dancing couple with giant thorns emerging from their backs, a photorealistic painting of a woman jumping through a window, an empty desert landscape charged with eerie stillness. “That’s by Ed Ruscha,” he says. “He’s a friend.” There’s a giant wooden map of Texas on the wall. If you look close, he says, you see that every single line was burned into the wood with a pyrographic iron. “I like art that makes me go, How did he do that?” he says. “Stuff that is technically amazing.”

Later, he says, he’ll dig out a really beautiful piece made completely out of cockroach wings.

On the desk of his little office nook sits a sculpted arm made out of laminated skateboards that, in a perfect touch, ends in a fist with an upraised middle finger.

The fall from an ordinary perch is a universal story. Few of us get through life without one taste of failure and disgrace. But the fall from a very great height is a different order of experience altogether, because it happens to a different kind of person—the kind who was driven to climb that high in the first place. Should it come as a surprise that such a person—this man right here—makes a lousy penitent?

Depression? Self-loathing? Emotional paralysis? Lance Armstrong will not indulge, thank you. A year and a half after the scandal that ended his career, after being stripped of all his trophies and confessing the ugly truth to his children and losing in a single day an estimated $150 million, these are the circumstances to which he has been reduced.

A glass of wine, perhaps? Or is it time yet to mix up some of his special margaritas—Lanceritas he calls them—with the ice crushed just so? He loves his Lanceritas, and he loves his crushed ice.

Despite his preference for solitary sports, Armstrong also loves a full house. Little children are everywhere, their toys littering the floor of every room. In the kitchen, a coven of beautiful women is preparing dinner. One is his loving girlfriend, a Modigliani blond named Anna Hansen. Her equally beautiful friend teases Armstrong with easy intimacy, bringing a glass of freshly opened wine out to the outdoor sofas by the pool. “Here’s your wine, HRH,” she says. “We call him HRH for ‘His Royal Highness.’ “

While the food cooks, Armstrong lounges—on this Sunday afternoon in Austin, the sun is bright and the temperature cool—watching a toddler in a Supergirl outfit wrestle his youngest son to the grass. Life is good, he insists. He has five happy children. He’s learned who his real friends are. And he is learning to not fight all the time. Really. A fringe benefit of crushing defeat is learning to accept things.

Except for that leaf scooper jutting up over his wall. The neighbor always leaves it sticking up there. Look at that goddamn ugly thing, man, ruining an otherwise perfect setting. It is most definitely not perfect. Not perfect at all. You can see this incongruity just working on Armstrong, in his eyes, the set of his jaw.

“A couple more glasses of wine and you’ll climb over there,” a friend teases.

Halfway through dinner, Armstrong begins slurring his words. Just a little, barely noticeable. He detaches and focuses on his meal while his friends carry the conversation, chatting about Austin traffic and how the media only quotes the bad things. Some of Armstrong’s kids drift through, a little one sitting in his lap and begging for a sleepover. He masks affection with a pretense of crankiness, or maybe he is actually a little cranky. Either way, tonight every second of his forty-two years shows. Even here, in the afterlife, he manages to make relaxation look remarkably intense.

It bears reminding that before Armstrong became a reviled figure, this same intensity made him Herculean, to none more so than people all over the world with cancer. To those people, he remains a hero, and it is that work, he says, that has given his life the most meaning, even though the global cancer charity he built and seeded with almost $8 million from his own bank account told him not long ago it wanted nothing further to do with him and literally erased his name from memory, changing its name from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to the Livestrong Foundation.

But trail him for a few days and watch how giddy and hopeful the sick and the dying become in his presence, forgetting for a moment their nausea and pain and mortal fears. Amid all the controversy and disgrace, you admit, you forgot just how important Lance Armstrong was and still is to cancer patients everywhere.

“Yeah, you and about seven billion other people,” Armstrong says.

Last spring, he even got kicked out of a local swim meet. This was six months after the USADA—the United States Anti-Doping Agency—issued the lifetime ban against him competing in any sport “under the Olympic umbrella,” which includes pretty much anything anywhere. (The cyclists who testified against him, most of whom were just as guilty, got six months.) But he figured a little Austin swim race would be okay. It’s Austin, for chrissakes, his refuge, and the organizer said it was fine, he could swim—but then one guy had a problem and the calls went from Austin to Florida to Switzerland and finally the answer came back: No, Lance Armstrong can’t even compete in a local swim meet. “Anything I try to do, any sport, even archery and volleyball, I can’t do it,” he says.

He’s sorry, he swears, for the lies and the bullying and the lawsuits against journalists. “It was indefensible,” he says. “Pure hubris.” But he’s not going to be a hypocrite, either. The doping charges were bullshit. “Nobody has stepped forward and said, ‘I really won those races,’ ” he says. “They didn’t award those jerseys to somebody else. I won those races.”

This we can stipulate: Lance Armstrong cheated death, and then he kept on cheating. And he was no run-of-the-mill cheat. Sublimely American in his ambition, he became the best cheater, greatest cheater of all time, turning a European bicycle race into a gaudy, ruthless, and unprecedented demonstration of American corporate prowess and athletic hegemony. He doped and bullied other bikers to dope and sued or harassed people for telling the truth about him, which is hard to forgive. But he wasn’t the evil genius who invented evil. At twenty-three days and twenty-two hundred miles, the Tour is so hard that cyclists have always sought some kind of performance enhancement. In the 1920s, they took cocaine and alcohol, and in the 1940s, amphetamines. In 1962, fourteen of them dropped out because of morphine sickness. Between 1987 and 1992, use of the blood-oxygen booster called EPO may have killed as many as twenty-three riders. But even that didn’t stop them. In his testimony to the antidoping agency, testimony that helped ruin Armstrong, a former teammate named Frankie Andreu told investigators that when they first met on the European circuit in 1992, both of them quickly realized that “it was going to be difficult to have professional success as a cyclist without using EPO.” This was, in fact, the “general consensus” of the entire team, Andreu added.

And that’s how things stayed. The year before Armstrong won his first Tour, seven entire teams left the race after an assistant for the Festina team was caught with massive quantities of EPO, testosterone, and human growth hormone. The year after he left, the first-place winner got disqualified because of a bad test. The handful of idealists who refused to take anything at all, men like Darren Baker and Scott Mercier, quickly learned they couldn’t compete and dropped out. Everyone in cycling was aware of this history, and everyone knew the charges against Armstrong—the first book-length exposé came out way back in 2004. Nike even made them the subject of one of its most famous ads, a montage of swooping bicycle attacks matched to Armstrong’s confident narration:

Everybody wants to know what I’m on. What am I on? I’m on my bike busting my ass six hours a day.

He was a spectacular product, a very winning brand, and as long as he kept protesting his innocence and a shred of doubt persisted, anyone remotely associated with him continued to profit. Trek Bicycle doubled its sales, Nike washed away the memories of its sweatshop scandals, his teammates shared the profits from his victories, and his foundation pulled in hundreds of millions in charitable donations. The rest of us profited in more subtle ways. In the dark days that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Armstrong was a living American myth, the troubled and cocky natural who fought testicular cancer and came back to win the hardest sports event in the world seven times in a row. Seven times in a row! It was a resurrection, a modern miracle. He appeared on Wheaties boxes, starred in those iconic Nike ads, presented a bike to Bill Clinton at the White House, hung out with Bono and Sean Penn, dated Sheryl Crow and Kate Hudson, and wrote a best-selling memoir calledIt’s Not About the Bike that inspired cancer patients like nothing had ever inspired them before. He replaced the phrase “cancer victim” with “cancer survivor” and made it so hip to wear a yellow Livestrong bracelet, ninety million of them sold at a dollar apiece. John Kerry wore one on the campaign trail. John McCain talked about cancer at a Livestrong event. There was serious talk about a campaign for governor of Texas.

Armstrong believed in this story as much as anybody. He came out of a shabby little Dallas suburb like a snarling dog, son of a scrappy teenage mother who still hasn’t forgiven the dirty looks of her classmates and a stepfather who cheated frequently and beat him with a fraternity paddle. “As bad as he says his childhood was,” one old friend says, “it was worse. And the lesson he took from that was that people will fuck you, and you have to fight for everything you get.” In sports, he transformed that lesson into a warrior’s code. “Did you ever hear about how when you stab somebody, it’s really personal?” one coach told him. “Well, a bike race is that kind of personal. Don’t kid yourself. It’s a knife fight.”

Armstrong treated the doping charges like a knife fight too, playing the cancer card shamelessly—in one Nike ad, racing along narrow roads in his iconic yellow helmet, he sneered at his detractors:

The critics say I’m arrogant. A doper. Washed up. A fraud. That I couldn’t let it go. They can say whatever they want—I’m not back on my bike for them.

Cut to a cancer ward, where the camera panned over the chemo-ravaged patients to teach those silly critics a lesson in what’s really important.

And he got away with it. Despite all the rumors and accusations, Armstrong retired in 2005 with a clean record. His fatal mistake was trying to make a comeback four years later—and that is where his story goes into a deeper level of myth. As in a prophetic tale, he remembers one particular night of grim foreboding in Fort Davis, Texas, when he sensed his comeback was going to bring down the furies. He and Anna were at a café. “Every part of my being said, I gotta fucking stop this right now—I can’t do this. And Anna, bless her heart, was saying, ‘What are you talking about? What’s the problem?’ ” But he couldn’t stop. The sponsors were chomping at the bit for a comeback. The foundation and the fans were excited. Fate was beckoning him, and he couldn’t turn away. “I would do anything to be sitting back in that small café with Anna, and make a decision to just call it off.”

Then it all vanished in an instant. Cornered for transgressions that surprised absolutely no one inside the sport, Armstrong suffered one of the most astonishing and brutal reversals of fortune in American history, a level of punishment so extreme it raises the question of what was really being punished.

A year and a half later, Armstrong is still trying to figure out the answer.”

O artigo completo está aqui.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: uma vida sem documentos

Nos Estados Unidos há milhões de imigrantes ilegais. A maioria trabalha. Têm ordenados. Fazem descontos. Mas não têm documentos – pelo menos verdadeiros. É o caso de José António Vargas. Aos 12 anos chegou aopaís, vindo das Filipinas. Estudou, tirou um curso, tornou-se jornalista do The Washington Post e até ganhou um Púlitzer. Mas nunca teve um bilhete de identidade norte-americano. Nem uma carta de condução. Tinha uma vida dupla, sempre com receio de que alguém lhe pedisse a identificação. Num concerto, num bar, na rua. Em 2011, para surpresa geral, escreveu um texto na The New York Times Magazine a assumir-se como um imigrante ilegal. Deste então escreveu ainda um artigo que foi capa da Time e realizou um documentário que passou nos cinemas e na CNN. No início de Julho foi visitar uma cidade junto à fronteira com o México – e não voltou a saír. Foi detido por não ter identificação. Esta é a história que ele contou há três anos na primeira pessoa.

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My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

“One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. “Baka malamig doon” were among the few words she said. (“It might be cold there.”) When I arrived at the Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport with her, my aunt and a family friend, I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was 1993, and I was 12.

My mother wanted to give me a better life, so she sent me thousands of miles away to live with her parents in America — my grandfather (Lolo in Tagalog) and grandmother (Lola). After I arrived in Mountain View, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, I entered sixth grade and quickly grew to love my new home, family and culture. I discovered a passion for language, though it was hard to learn the difference between formal English and American slang. One of my early memories is of a freckled kid in middle school asking me, “What’s up?” I replied, “The sky,” and he and a couple of other kids laughed. I won the eighth-grade spelling bee by memorizing words I couldn’t properly pronounce. (The winning word was “indefatigable.”)

One day when I was 16, I rode my bike to the nearby D.M.V. office to get my driver’s permit. Some of my friends already had their licenses, so I figured it was time. But when I handed the clerk my green card as proof of U.S. residency, she flipped it around, examining it. “This is fake,” she whispered. “Don’t come back here again.”

Confused and scared, I pedaled home and confronted Lolo. I remember him sitting in the garage, cutting coupons. I dropped my bike and ran over to him, showing him the green card. “Peke ba ito?” I asked in Tagalog. (“Is this fake?”) My grandparents were naturalized American citizens — he worked as a security guard, she as a food server — and they had begun supporting my mother and me financially when I was 3, after my father’s wandering eye and inability to properly provide for us led to my parents’ separation. Lolo was a proud man, and I saw the shame on his face as he told me he purchased the card, along with other fake documents, for me. “Don’t show it to other people,” he warned.

I decided then that I could never give anyone reason to doubt I was an American. I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with citizenship. I felt I could earn it.

I’ve tried. Over the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream.

But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out. It means rarely trusting people, even those closest to me, with who I really am. It means keeping my family photos in a shoebox rather than displaying them on shelves in my home, so friends don’t ask about them. It means reluctantly, even painfully, doing things I know are wrong and unlawful. And it has meant relying on a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks for me.

Last year I read about four students who walked from Miami to Washington to lobby for the Dream Act, a nearly decade-old immigration bill that would provide a path to legal permanent residency for young people who have been educated in this country. At the risk of deportation — the Obama administration has deported almost 800,000 people in the last two years — they are speaking out. Their courage has inspired me.

There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.

My first challenge was the language. Though I learned English in the Philippines, I wanted to lose my accent. During high school, I spent hours at a time watching television (especially “Frasier,” “Home Improvement” and reruns of “The Golden Girls”) and movies (from “Goodfellas” to “Anne of Green Gables”), pausing the VHS to try to copy how various characters enunciated their words. At the local library, I read magazines, books and newspapers — anything to learn how to write better. Kathy Dewar, my high-school English teacher, introduced me to journalism. From the moment I wrote my first article for the student paper, I convinced myself that having my name in print — writing in English, interviewing Americans — validated my presence here.

The debates over “illegal aliens” intensified my anxieties. In 1994, only a year after my flight from the Philippines, Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected in part because of his support for Proposition 187, which prohibited undocumented immigrants from attending public school and accessing other services. (A federal court later found the law unconstitutional.) After my encounter at the D.M.V. in 1997, I grew more aware of anti-immigrant sentiments and stereotypes: they don’t want to assimilate, they are a drain on society. They’re not talking about me, I would tell myself. I have something to contribute.

To do that, I had to work — and for that, I needed a Social Securitynumber. Fortunately, my grandfather had already managed to get one for me. Lolo had always taken care of everyone in the family. He and my grandmother emigrated legally in 1984 from Zambales, a province in the Philippines of rice fields and bamboo houses­, following Lolo’s sister, who married a Filipino-American serving in the American military. She petitioned for her brother and his wife to join her. When they got here, Lolo petitioned for his two children — my mother and her younger brother — to follow them. But instead of mentioning that my mother was a married woman, he listed her as single. Legal residents can’t petition for their married children. Besides, Lolo didn’t care for my father. He didn’t want him coming here too.

But soon Lolo grew nervous that the immigration authorities reviewing the petition would discover my mother was married, thus derailing not only her chances of coming here but those of my uncle as well. So he withdrew her petition. After my uncle came to America legally in 1991, Lolo tried to get my mother here through a tourist visa, but she wasn’t able to obtain one. That’s when she decided to send me. My mother told me later that she figured she would follow me soon. She never did.

The “uncle” who brought me here turned out to be a coyote, not a relative, my grandfather later explained. Lolo scraped together enough money — I eventually learned it was $4,500, a huge sum for him — to pay him to smuggle me here under a fake name and fake passport. (I never saw the passport again after the flight and have always assumed that the coyote kept it.) After I arrived in America, Lolo obtained a new fake Filipino passport, in my real name this time, adorned with a fake student visa, in addition to the fraudulent green card.

Using the fake passport, we went to the local Social Security Administration office and applied for a Social Security number and card. It was, I remember, a quick visit. When the card came in the mail, it had my full, real name, but it also clearly stated: “Valid for work only with I.N.S. authorization.”

When I began looking for work, a short time after the D.M.V. incident, my grandfather and I took the Social Security card to Kinko’s, where he covered the “I.N.S. authorization” text with a sliver of white tape. We then made photocopies of the card. At a glance, at least, the copies would look like copies of a regular, unrestricted Social Security card.

Lolo always imagined I would work the kind of low-paying jobs that undocumented people often take. (Once I married an American, he said, I would get my real papers, and everything would be fine.) But even menial jobs require documents, so he and I hoped the doctored card would work for now. The more documents I had, he said, the better.

While in high school, I worked part time at Subway, then at the front desk of the local Y.M.C.A., then at a tennis club, until I landed an unpaid internship at The Mountain View Voice, my hometown newspaper. First I brought coffee and helped around the office; eventually I began covering city-hall meetings and other assignments for pay.

For more than a decade of getting part-time and full-time jobs, employers have rarely asked to check my original Social Security card. When they did, I showed the photocopied version, which they accepted. Over time, I also began checking the citizenship box on my federal I-9 employment eligibility forms. (Claiming full citizenship was actually easier than declaring permanent resident “green card” status, which would have required me to provide an alien registration number.)

This deceit never got easier. The more I did it, the more I felt like an impostor, the more guilt I carried — and the more I worried that I would get caught. But I kept doing it. I needed to live and survive on my own, and I decided this was the way.

Mountain View High School became my second home. I was elected to represent my school at school-board meetings, which gave me the chance to meet and befriend Rich Fischer, the superintendent for our school district. I joined the speech and debate team, acted in school plays and eventually became co-editor of The Oracle, the student newspaper. That drew the attention of my principal, Pat Hyland. “You’re at school just as much as I am,” she told me. Pat and Rich would soon become mentors, and over time, almost surrogate parents for me.

After a choir rehearsal during my junior year, Jill Denny, the choir director, told me she was considering a Japan trip for our singing group. I told her I couldn’t afford it, but she said we’d figure out a way. I hesitated, and then decided to tell her the truth. “It’s not really the money,” I remember saying. “I don’t have the right passport.” When she assured me we’d get the proper documents, I finally told her. “I can’t get the right passport,” I said. “I’m not supposed to be here.”

She understood. So the choir toured Hawaii instead, with me in tow. (Mrs. Denny and I spoke a couple of months ago, and she told me she hadn’t wanted to leave any student behind.)

Later that school year, my history class watched a documentary on Harvey Milk, the openly gay San Francisco city official who was assassinated. This was 1999, just six months after Matthew Shepard’s body was found tied to a fence in Wyoming. During the discussion, I raised my hand and said something like: “I’m sorry Harvey Milk got killed for being gay. . . . I’ve been meaning to say this. . . . I’m gay.”

I hadn’t planned on coming out that morning, though I had known that I was gay for several years. With that announcement, I became the only openly gay student at school, and it caused turmoil with my grandparents. Lolo kicked me out of the house for a few weeks. Though we eventually reconciled, I had disappointed him on two fronts. First, as a Catholic, he considered homosexuality a sin and was embarrassed about having “ang apo na bakla” (“a grandson who is gay”). Even worse, I was making matters more difficult for myself, he said. I needed to marry an American woman in order to gain a green card.

Tough as it was, coming out about being gay seemed less daunting than coming out about my legal status. I kept my other secret mostly hidden.”

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