The word diaspora (from Greek "scattering, dispersion") is the movement or migration of a group of people, such as those sharing a national and/or ethnic identity, away from an established or ancestral homeland. (When capitalized it apparently refers to the exile of the Jewish people, and to those living outside of ancient/modern day Jerusalem.)

We looked at this word today in class in discussing Wayson Choy and the idea of Chinese ancestory along with being born in Canada. I think it's especially interesting for me, because as Erika said it was in the 90's that Chinese stories began to be considered as part of being Canadian, so for me, being born in the 90's, I've really not known anything else. My Canada has always accepted and celebrated stories of other cultures, even though historically Canadian Literature did not.

This definitely reminds me of our conversations on Native American culture and stories during our discussions of Green Grass Running Water. I suppose in the ultimate definition of the word, not all Native groups have migrated away from an established homeland, but they most definitely had large amounts of that ancestral homeland taken away from them, so I think it amounts to the same thing. The feeling of losing homeland is the same, with the added poignancy of still being on your land, and seeing your land, but not owning or being allowed to use it.

Interestingly, this echoes a conversation I had in my History of Peace Movement in the 20th Century class. We did a reading on the concept of memory and home among the Palestinian refugees in Gaza. These are the people who were forced from their homes by Israel in the 50's, and though it doesn't use the word, the paper is clearly outlining complete diaspora of the people, again with the added poignancy of literally seeing their farms and homes across the armistice line, but being unable to reclaim them.

While I can't relate to the feeling of loss of home, I can imagine the heart-ache. I grew up my whole life in the same house my family lives in now, and I quite simply cannot imagine not going home to there. I don't have a room there anymore, but even being on the guest bed, it feels like home, like my space where I am utterly comfortable, and utterly myself. It would be incredibly strange and disconcerting if my parents moved. I don't think it would feel like home, just a place where people I loved happened to live. Nevermind if they left the city altogether, I can't imagine have no ties to Victoria anymore, it's truly all I've ever know. And if the reason for leaving was because of being forced to go as in the case of the Native Americans or

Hi ... after reading this, I thought about The Year of the Flood in context with the notion of 'diaspora' .... and the lost of a homeland (family home) and what came to mind is the lost of 'mother earth' ... where we all live!


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