December 2, 2012

Diaspora, a Question of Morale?

I believe that the film we recently watched, Up the Yangtze, was a great example of diaspora which Wiki defines as the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland. In the film, Cindy's poor farming family were forced into leaving their homeland and transferred 200 meters upland in order to make room for the government order Three Gorges Dam. Cindy's family as well as thousands others were not given a choice in the matter, therefore qualifying as diaspora.

Diaspora is a term that is explored in many pieces of rhetoric. Earlier in the semester we read the graphic novel, Persepolis. This too was another example of diaspora since Marji was forced (this time by her parents due to decisions of the Iranian government) to move to Eastern Europe because of decisions made by her country's government. I bring up the point, does diaspora have to automatically be an unfortunate movement? Can good come from diaspora? Can the movement of people and cultures be justified in the greater picture?

I personally believe that it is wrong to force mass amounts of people out of their homes for government decisions, although sometimes it is necessary and if that is the case the victims of diaspora must be compensated properly. Thoughts?

1 comment:

Nicola Wood said...

It seems to me that, unfortunately, diaspora most often occurs for negative reasons. It is not common for a large group of people to elect to leave the land that they know as their home, except for situations in which living elsewhere would be a better alternative than living in their current conditions.

In my class section, we did not read Persepolis (we read Arab in America instead), but your reading does sound like a great example of diaspora, and again exemplifies the power of the government and the way that it can negatively affect the lives of its citizens.

I think you bring up a good point that victims of (negative) diaspora should be properly compensated, and that made me wonder whether or not Cindy's family was compensated for their move. I remember them saying how they would have to pay for water and vegetables in their new apartment, which is not something they had to deal with living in the hut. I also think it is an injustice for a government to force a community to relocate to a place which will burden them with even more financial hardships. It is good to know that Cindy's father was put back into a farming job, and hopefully their life is a little bit easier in the present day.

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