great thing about T&T is that we feel we are the world. Terrorist
bombs go off in a train and bus in London one day and the next thing, we
have bombs going off in our city in a garbage bin.
Jolie gets pregnant out of wedlock and admits it to a charity worker, the
next week our own celebrity charity worker, former Miss Universe Wendy
Fitzwilliam, announces her pregnancy at a Catholic girls’ school.
are subject to a stream of advertised “celebrity” concerts and
appearances from Madonna to Nicole Kidman. Only if you look closely
you’ll find you’re being presented with the faux celebrity. Not the
real thing after all. Still it’s in some way being part of the world.
it is, our talent is to weave with ease between worlds and time,
recreating the universe thematically, beautifully personified at Carnival
as Europe wines with Africa, India rubs with China, and the cross breed of
continents shows up in a single lovely face, one after another costumed,
partly masked, upturned to the sun.
exquisite imitation, dismissed by Naipaul as mimicry is simply our ability
to inhabit the skins of the world.
why the story of Isabelle Dinoire, the recipient of the first face
transplant, blew me away. It’s our story.
a 37-year-old divorced mother of two, took “tablets to forget” her
worries, passed out, woke up and tried to light a cigarette. She
couldn’t. It was only when she saw the pool of blood and her face in the
mirror that she discovered that her dog had gouged out her lips, nose and
chin while she was asleep.
had a cavity instead of a face. When the French woman faced the media for
the first time she thanked her doctors who made medical history when they
transplanted the face of a brain-dead suicide victim (she had committed
suicide) on to Dinoire’s skull in a 15-hour operation at Amiens Hospital
recounted her accident with the dog and drugs: “I went to look in the
mirror and I was horrified. I couldn’t believe what I saw, especially as
I didn’t feel any pain. Since that day my life has changed.” Without
lips, a nose and a chin Isabelle was a freak.
didn’t leave her hospital room for six weeks because she was “afraid
of other people’s looks.” She could not eat normally because she was
unable to open her mouth more than three millimetres. After the operation,
everyday human activities she took for granted were now miracles of
science. “Now I have a face like everybody else. I can open my mouth and
eat. I can feel my lips, my nose and my mouth,” she said.
packed conference of reporters stared at her mauled image on a large
screen and then her transplanted face “not perfect, but a human face
belonging to a dead woman.”
real life story raises pores, because now we are confronted with the fact
that all our faces are masks. And these masks can be interchangeable. And
a face can go on breathing and eating on another body after its original
body perishes. The masks demonstrate too, that no matter which one you
have on, yours, or someone else’s; it’s what is on the inside that
new nose or lips or chin will not change our lives. Our white, black,
brown faces; flat, sharp, asymmetrical, ugly, old, young, beautiful, sick
features are miraculous because they allow us to kiss, eat, smell,
the accident Dinoire was depressed and addicted to smoking. She still
smokes and is still stressed despite her miraculous second chance in life.
Now she needs to fix the inside. It was too late for her donor to fix the
inside. But it’s not for Dinoire, and it’s not for us.
that’s what we understand “it’s the inside we need to fix, the real
thing, as we blindly mimic switch, juggle, parties, religions, bands with