Dr. Steeve Coupeau Goes one-on-one with Susan Beraza, Director of "MASSACRE RIVER: The Woman without a Country" featured at the 2019 Edition of the Margaret Mead Film Festival, 22 October 2019

What was the development origin of the movie?

During research for the film, which was initially going to be a project about sex tourism, the Dominican Constitutional Court reinterpreted its constitution and reversed birthright citizenship stripping Dominican nationality from more than 200,000 Dominican­born people of Haitian descent, including one of the characters we had been following, Pikilina. I then realized that this was a much bigger and more important story and shifted the direction and focus of the film to examine what appeared to be a racist change in policy.

Being a lighter­skinned Latina growing up in the Caribbean, I regularly witnessed disturbing prejudices against those who are darker-skinned. It felt as though this policy was one of ethnic cleansing, purging those who are darkest, and exposing a deeply rooted discrimination that has long been prevalent not only on the island, but worldwide. Pikilina's story is a haunting example of what happens when a government decides to deny an entire race or nation of people. With nationalism rising globally, what is unfolding in the Dominican Republic has become another illustration of the alarming and abhorrent impacts of xenophobia and hatred and fear of the “other.”

What was your process to gain access and how did you choose your film subjects?

My brother is a Haitian rights activist had been living in the Dominican Republic for over 30 years. I met subjects through him and his contacts.

Shakira to perform at upcoming Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show, 09/30/2019

Super Bowl

Photo Credit: Victoria WIll/Invision/AP

Shakira can be on a hiatus from her music career, but when she makes a comeback and hits the stage, her concerts sell out like hotcakes. Her recent El Dorado World Tour is perfect proof of that, marking it the first time Shak went on tour in seven years, where she visited her fans around the world in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America with more than 50 shows.

Not only does the Colombian singer serenade her fans, singing everything from her classic ‘90s pop-rock ballads to her English-language bops to her reggaeton smashes, but she also knows how to steal the spotlight with her energetic dance moves, sparkly outfits and powerhouse vocals.

It is a no-brainer that she will deliver an amazing performance when she takes the stage as one of the headliners for the upcoming Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show, taking place Feb. 2, 2020, at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

Facing the resignation of President Evo Morales and the coup d’état in Bolivia by José Gabriel Feres 11/12/19

Evo and Bolivia

Photo Credit: ABI

The resignation of Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, and of Vice-President Álvaro García Lineras is undoubtedly a regrettable fact, not only for Bolivia, but for all democratic processes on the continent and in the world. The international rejection has been categorical to the coup d’état that has been consummated this Monday, November 10, in our brother country.

This happens after the decision of Evo Morales and his government to call for new elections as a way of resolving the crisis that was brewing. It was a decisive response that did not accept calculations, but privileged what was best for its people. A response that arises without a doubt from Evo Morales’ profound humanist sensitivity, as well as his forced resignation at this moment, which responds to avoid the bloodshed of his people, who were already victims of the persecution and murder of sectors of the police and paramilitary gangs promoted and financed by facist groups in eastern Bolivia.

Several of the President’s political actions may have been the object of discussion, even on the part of his own adherents and his support suffering the wear and tear of 13 years of government, but his decision to call new elections undoubtedly magnified him and serves as an exemplary referent in showing that conflicts of this magnitude can only be resolved with more democracy.

Stepping Up: Refugee Education in Crisis by UNHCR, 9/8/2019

Refugee, Youth

Hina Shikhani, 21, an Afghan refugee, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Peshawar in Pakistan. © UNHCR/Gordon Welters

Of the 7.1 million refugee children of school age, 3.7 million - more than half - do not go to school, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, says in a report released today. The report, Stepping Up: Refugee Education in Crisis, shows that as refugee children grow older, the barriers preventing them from accessing education become harder to overcome: only 63 per cent of refugee children go to primary school, compared to 91 per cent globally. Around the world, 84 per cent of adolescents get a secondary education, while only 24 per cent of refugees get the opportunity.

“School is where refugees are given a second chance,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “We are failing refugees by not giving them the opportunity to build the skills and knowledge they need to invest in their futures.”

The steep decline in refugee enrolment between primary and secondary school is the direct result of lack of funding for refugee education. As a result, UNHCR is calling on governments, the private sector, educational organizations and donors to give their financial backing to a new initiative aimed at kick-starting secondary education for refugees.


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