Perijil by Deborah L. Stenberg
Original Oil on Panel
The war between the Afro-Dominicans and Afro-Haitians became know as the Parsley Massacre of 1937. The dictator Trujillo had his Dominican soldiers hold up a sprig of parsley to someone and asked what it was. How the person pronounced the Spanish word for parsley, perejil, determined their fate.
French and Haitian Creole people could not trill the “r” in the word perejil. Those that could not pronounce the word correctly were considered Haitian and were executed. It is estimated that 20,000 Haitians were killed because of this word.