I was around 12 years old when I first heard about the Parsley Massacres of 1937. I was ruffling through a textbook, searching for information on Dominican Republic when I saw the story. The book mentioned the massacres in passing, as if it was just another day in the week. I remember thinking if so many people died, why wasn’t there an outcry? Why didn’t the global community do something about it? Isn’t it illegal to exterminate people? Who kills unarmed men, women and children on the bases of their ethnic background? I remember feeling a sense of despair and helplessness. I remember thinking how much it reminded me the Holocaust. I ran home to tell my mother about what I just read and she said “uno no puedo tapar el sol con un dedo”, it literally means you cannot cover up the sun with your finger. For forty-five minutes she explained the story to me and said “although people rarely discuss this part of history, it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.”
That day has stayed with me. My mother’s words, those images, those people, those kids, that part of history and that feeling has never left me.