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Mona Silavi is a human and women’s rights activist from the Ahwaz region in Iran. She obtained her bachelor in psychology and specialized in children and adolescence psychology at Damascus University, faculty of psychology and education. She holds a master degree in good governance and human rights in MENA region from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. She started her activism in Damascus as member of Ahwazi Arab student association. Mona Silavi is a Project Officer at the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and is the coordinator for topics concerning freedom of religion and belief. She is also a spokesperson of the Al-Ahwaz Democratic Solidarity Party (DSPA). Since 2014 Ms Silavi lives in Belgium as a political refugee
Four Mirabal sisters—Minerva, Patria, Maria Teresa, and Dede—are national heroes in the Dominican Republic.
In 1999, when the United Nations General Assembly designated 25th November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, they became international icons.
Their story was retold by Julia Alvarez in a historical novel “In the Time of the Butterflies”.
There is a film under the same name about the struggle of those sisters for social justice and their fighting against Rafael Trujillo, nicknamed “The Chief”.
The rise of Rafael Trujillo can be explained in the colonial history of this Caribbean island in the western Atlantic Ocean.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus was the first colonizer to arrive at this island. Spanish influence began in 1625, and French control of today’s Haiti began in 1660 and, as a consequence, the relationship between the two parts of this island has always been tense.
After Haiti gained independence from the French and Spanish, the US start showing an interest in the island. And in 1915 Haiti was occupied by the US. The occupation lasted until 1934. The US also occupied the Dominican Islands.
In 1930, Rafael Trujillo overturned the elected president and stayed in power for 31 years.
He was a brutal dictator who ordered the killing of his oppositions and carried out ethnic cleansing. He considered the Haitians to be a racially and culturally inferior people, therefore he massacred them.
Minerva was the first among her sisters to encounter the “The Chief”: she refused his romantic advances.
He arrested her father, but she persisted in her position and became more determined to fight his regime.
So the sisters established the group known as the “Movement of the Fourteenth of June”, named after the date of the massacre against the Haitians.
Listen to the rest to know how the Dominicans managed to bring Rafael Trujillo down and what happened to those brave sisters.