how the world sees america
March 2, 2008 12:00 AM

How the World Sees America Thank Yous

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Driving Across the Border

I could well have spent this last year perpetually lost. And maybe I was.

From the hills of Srinagar to the coasts of Beirut, I jumped borders fast, and posted often. Without the guidance of regional experts, local journalists, friends and kind strangers, I never would have been able to get my feet on the ground as quickly as I needed to, find stories, and get some grip on the complex dynamics that define each nation's relationship with the U.S.

For your time, your help translating, your leads, your edits, your warnings, your explanations, your patience and your encouragement, thank you. Thank you for making this the most exhilarating and enlightening year of my life.

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February 29, 2008 12:20 PM

The View From the Border

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TIJUANA - This is my final post before signing off. I'm at the border separating the United States from Mexico. Over the past year, I've written 150,000 words and conversed with all of you through another 3 million or so. But standing here, at this border and at this moment, I'm at a loss for words.

Here is where video comes in handy. Watch men and women, young and old, interact with the U.S. across its border fence, and share what you're thinking.

And, finally, here are the many thank yous I owe to journalists, friends, and readers who made this project possible and worthwhile. Thank you for making this the most enlightening and exhilarating year of my life.

February 26, 2008 10:34 AM

Hector, Father Turned Drug-Runner - Part I

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Hector Salinas

HIDALGO - At age 18, Hector Salinas's girlfriend became pregnant unexpectedly. The pair promptly married, she bore their son, and the new father found himself unable to buy diapers and milk for his baby boy on the US$200 per month he earned working for the local water authority of the state of Hidalgo. So Hector headed north to the United States, alone.

Three years later, he was running drugs along the California coast, pocketing six thousand untaxed dollars per month, and sending his family at least US$800 per week. Hector says he fell deep into an underworld and ended up an unwitting witness to a murder.

That’s when he decided to escape the snares of his drug boss. He stole home to Hidalgo and met his baby boy for the first time in three years, vowing to keep him from a similar fate.

Over a long Friday afternoon, the affable Hector, now a spiky-haired office-worker in Mexico City, recounts his migration story systematically, in minute detail, as if chronicling its moments for his son’s generation. His speaks terse, matter-of-fact Spanish, his emotions always controlled. He refuses to pass judgment on any of the actors in his tale, including himself. He simply warns fellow Mexicans against rushing north, and urges them to temper their dreams of America.

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send your comments, questions and suggestions for PostGlobal to Lauren Keane, its editor and producer.