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Definition of Diaspora


Synopses of diaspora are reliant on the historical perspective one takes. With forerunners of the latest stage in human evolution and those early humans alike, a diaspora of sorts took place in the migration of these beings from Africa outward to the other continents about 150,000 years ago.

These individual diasporic movements took place at various intervals before the advent of writing, and culminated with the arrival of man in the Americas as early as 20,000 or 30,000 years ago. Even as individual peoples began to unite and forge empires, these migrations persisted, and groups from the Vikings moved between Scandinavia and other territories.

However, some maintain that diasporas should involve some element of refugeeism. Owing to its Greek and Hebrew etymologies, the main use of Diaspora when capitalized is specific to large-scale displacements of Jews over a number of centuries. Even so, the word has been used to describe things much different from the Jewish diaspora, such as the Great Irish Famine

The Jewish Diaspora definitely captures the spirit of a diaspora, as it reflects the fact they have had to move time and time again, and have suffered persecution every step of the way. The exact start of the Diaspora is debated, as historians might argue with regard to whether or not it was the capture of Jerusalem by the Assyrians or its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians two centuries later that kicked off the Diaspora. On the contrary, what is undebatable is that Jewish territories have fallen under the dominion of larger entities throughout history, and Jewish migration has spiked in response.

Two of the more significant imperial relationships that diasporic Jews became entangled with were the reign of Alexander the Great and the tyrannical rule of the Roman Empire. While the first one brought Hellenistic influences to the Jews and emigrations of Jews from the land of Judah/Judea, the other brought slavery and oppression to the Jews, and forced them to leave under duress. The terms "Jewish Diaspora" and "diaspora" persist until this day, and partially reflect the recent founding of the modern state of Israel

The Jewish and African diasporas are analogous, but aside from the obvious difference in the groups involved, only forced international migrations are considered. Perhaps this is too limiting. Granted, the African diaspora, as it is traditionally known, is impossible to conceive of in any way other than forced international migration. Africans were a key cog in the slave trade that sent goods, ships and slaves between Africa, Europe and the Western Hemisphere.

Yet much internal migration has occurred within Africa as a result of widespread decolonization and subsequent civil wars/other conflicts between groups, which may be envisioned as a type of diaspora in itself, especially noting the rampant refugeeism.

Nonetheless, this should not denigrate the cause of the displaced Tibetan population, especially noting their adherence to religious piety and peaceful opposition to China's occupation of the region. The main thrust of the modern Tibetan refugee moment resides in the invasions of eastern and central Tibet and the violent repudiation of Tibet's claims for its own independence in the 1950's that almost resulted in the Dalai Lama's capture. Yet with continued repression of Tibetan expression of religion, language, economy, and politics, the diaspora has continued to bring Tibetan migrations to Nepal and, most notably, the Indian village of Dharamsala.

In recent decades, the international response on behalf of the displaced persons of Tibet has been particularly strong, with the continued involvement of the Dalai Lama in international affairs from his position of exile and numerous "Free Tibet" organizations and charity events being orchestrated by concerned parties.

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