Split me in two, nah leaving


Quick Links

1995, 1996, 1997

1998, 1999, 2000

2001, 2002, 2003

2004, 2005, 2006

2007, 2008, 2009

2010, 2011

Category: Trinidad Society Date: 11 Feb 01

If last week I panicked at receiving a racist inhuman e-mail letter, seeing it as an ill omen, a symptom, or seed of the warring tribalism we see the world over, then this week I am breathing easy again.


Like a woman who has doubted and found her love faithful, I feel doubly ashamed for having ever doubted the people of my country in the first place. The letters did it. Their names appearing one under the other in my in-box - Khan, Owen, Rampersad, Wolter, Mahabir, Isaacs, women and men, of all ages, and varying professions - a Minshall or Barbarosa Carnival band, a river lit up by the profiles and colours of many continents, where in one face you could find traces of four continents.


It’s only fitting then, that I should reproduce extracts of some of these e-mail letters. If that vile letter made it in the column last week, then the tolerant, humane words of our people should, too.


The doyen of journalists in this country - our own quick-witted George John - was one who offered advice. You might be hurt by what he had to say, too, and I know you will be just as outraged as you were over the missive I received last week. But, in the interests of objectivity I decided to take John’s advice to “swallow your bile and expose both specimens of nastiness” in the hope we all can see and axe the double-headed monster of racism before it destroys us.


Dear Ira:

Last Sunday’s column reminded me of this: When Princess Diana died, I wrote a column in the Sunday Guardian under the headline “Debunking Diana.”

The imperialists were upset considerably by my theme that Diana was a flawed, spoilt brat who did not deserve to be on the pedestal the mob had placed her. The Guardian published one or two letters in condemnation.

I expected the “still British” to behave in that way. But this letter I withheld from publication was totally unexpected. 

It went like this:

“Dear the Right Honourable G R John,

Re: Your article on Debunking Diana Sunday Guardian - September 7.

You are a nasty, heartless, cruel person, to write the way you did. You are also, obviously, an unreasonable fool and of low mental, spiritual and emotional ability. I say to you, damn you, creep; may you get what you deserve! Next time you have nothing good to say, keep your black ugly Trini Creole mouth shut!”

(Name withheld)


I think it is time we who believe we are here to do some kind of good should unmask these frauds, the most dangerous people we have in this country as bad as the drug lords, in some respects worse, for they feed on emotions solely in their own vile interest.

George John.


On several occasions over the many years since I made Trinidad my home, I have been told to go back to England. It seems there are many people who cannot accept opinions or comments that conflict with their own.

As to the nasty poison pen e-mail, try to forget it. The writer is more to be pitied than blamed. Just keep on with your contributions and making us aware of the realities that surround us.

Thomas Owen


It is unfortunate that an adult would believe that the deaths of so many people are insignificant.

I am so sorry that you were hurt by those remarks as I was. Rest assured that there are many of us out here who feel the pain of those who are suffering in India and at the same time want peace for our country.

Lynette Isaacs


As a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago you have rights and no one who perceives that the loss of political power confers a right to unfairly attack, ridicule and display naked racism must be allowed to get away with it.

As a Trinidadian I am deeply hurt and concerned that another Trinidadian could harbour such rabid inhuman feelings. But I am more concerned when such persons are allowed to vent their anger, venom and bitterness daily in the media, for it can only result in the spawning of others in the same likeness.

I, too, cry for my country.

Dave Rampersad


I just read your contribution and it is very sad to know that a fellow human being can be so cruel and poisonous. Rest assured that he most probably stands alone in his misery.

Yasmin Wolter



The following letter was addressed to the editor. Here is an extract:


“All I can say is that our world has, and will always have, a lot of ignorance and intolerance, and T&T has its share. But we must never give up on the battle to eliminate or reduce these scourges from our society.

“My wife’s family trace part of her lineage to the original Caribs in Arima, but the rest of us, you and me, all trace our ancestry to immigrants who came by boat (or plane), but at different times. So what! We can’t all go back.

“Get the calypso record by ‘Dougla’. Think it was called ‘Split me in two’.”

Michael J Williams


Split me in two is right.


horizontal rule



All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur