I’m note sure if this word belongs and ironically that seems to be the essense of it’s very meaning. I dive into it wondering if I will inadevertantly find myself in a refugee camp somewhere. It certainly feels like I have lived that at certain times of my life. You can check that out in my singualrly depressing upcoming book Down and Out In Penryn & Falmouth. Where some of us didn’t thrive to tell the tale.
As species we’ve been on the move for a while now around two million years. So it’s hard to figure out what diaspora means in real terms. That people move. That can’t come as a surprise to many of us and yet parochial mindsets seem to prevail. This paraochial approach often gets me thinking about hobbiton and the shire. Where the centrel beings of teh story are barely know to anybody else. What a way to live life as a community totally centered in self. A community that believe that Tree Shepards are mythical creatures and magic only arrives with the combustable consumables of wizards and in fact that wizards are something to be toyed with.
We riducle and mock what we don’t know most of the time and the word diaspora seems to sum that up a lot. Diaspora is an othering of self in the land that you stay in. It’s saying I am not from here and somehow that seems integral to it’s basis. What if you just assimilated on arrival. Isn’t that what the USA used to offer new life, new identity. “What me, I’m an Amercian”. People give themselves the name of a lesser known explorer than intigrate the the complication of dual identities. Of course forced diaspora is ahwole othr sotry whether through human disaster or natural one. We are all scatterings of Africa and yet how far will we go to deny our origins out place in the world as one massive global family. One species, one kind. Diaspora seems to hold the toxic roots of seperation. That if you leave wyou must be seperate that if tyou arrive you must be different. In a year that has be defined by it’s lack of movement it’s clear that progress has had to be made in other ways. I turn to the USA again to consider Black Lives Matter and the failing global respose to take on the mutually inherited roles of slavery. Of the dispossed and the possesion. The ownership of other humans and how their labour, the labour of slave built the nations that ignore them. What does it mean to be stolen from somewhere else, never return and never belong. To be ignored triggered and experience such visceral daily denial and rejection. Have you seen the Christmas adverts? Where we are going we can’t return, both in the physical and the metaphysical. Why can’t we talk about reparations? Today I heard and astouding figure realting to the Lockerbie Bombing. That they payed out to all the relatives of the victims was in 2.16 billion US dollars. I can’t even imagine the figure that would be necessary to sort out the cost of slave reparations and the impact it has had on family descendents.
It’s not the same of course not but let me tell you it was the first post industrial landsacpe in the world. Now that will get all you human geographers very excited. Healing those Cornsih Mining villages may well bethe key to plantary evolution.
I am the diaspora.