As our country heals from the scars left by the murders in Charleston, the world is also witnessing a human rights catastrophe whose origins also partly lay in the imperialistic, racially-divisive policies of the United States. At present, hundreds of thousands of Haitians residing in the Dominican Republic (many of whom were born on Dominican soil) and working in the country are facing the threat of forced deportation. The current wave of deportations and violence has immediate roots in a 2013 court decision that decreed that being born in the Dominican Republic did not automatically constitute citizenship, but it stretches back as far as the 1937 genocide of Haitians by US-backed dictator Rafael Trujillo and remained in the form of culturally-ingrained anti-Haitian sentiment.
At the time of that 2013 ruling, the Brooklyn-based humanitarian group Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees created a video documenting the lives of Haitians who fled violence in the Dominican Republic since 2005 (when, similar to current events, 11,000 Haitians were forcefully deported) and had been living in Haiti since. Interspersing shocking footage of forced expulsions with interviews with those deported, as well as members of the Dominican and Haitian diaspora who spoke out against the expulsions and aided refugees, the film offers valuable context to the current crisis. Said one activist during a protest in New York:
“Call for solidarity, between the Haitian community and the Dominican community, to face the abuses that are going on against Haitians in the Dominican Republic. We are two small countries and one small island, and as long as we keep focusing on the things that divide us, our communities will remain divided and will remain oppressed by the same forces,”
Click above to watch the film.