Diaspora Quotes

Quotes tagged as "diaspora" Showing 1-30 of 36
Ijeoma Umebinyuo
“Here’s to the security guards who maybe had a degree in another land. Here’s to the manicurist who had to leave her family to come here, painting the nails, scrubbing the feet of strangers. Here’s to the janitors who don’t understand English yet work hard despite it all. Here’s to the fast food workers who work hard to see their family smile. Here’s to the laundry man at the Marriott who told me with the sparkle in his eyes how he was an engineer in Peru. Here’s to the bus driver, the Turkish Sufi who almost danced when I quoted Rumi. Here’s to the harvesters who live in fear of being deported for coming here to open the road for their future generation. Here’s to the taxi drivers from Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and India who gossip amongst themselves. Here is to them waking up at 4am, calling home to hear the voices of their loved ones. Here is to their children, to the children who despite it all become artists, writers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, activists and rebels. Here’s to international money transfer. For never forgetting home. Here’s to their children who carry the heartbeats of their motherland and even in sleep, speak with pride about their fathers. Keep on.”
Ijeoma Umebinyuo, Questions for Ada

Ijeoma Umebinyuo
“The day your education makes you roll your eyes at your father. The day your exposure makes you call your own mother uncivilized, the day your amazing foreign degrees make you cringe as your driver speaks pidgin english, may you never forget your grandfather was a farmer from Oyo state who never understood english.”
Ijeoma Umebinyuo, Questions for Ada

Salman Rushdie
“Sometimes we feel we straddle two cultures; at other times, that we fall between two stools.”
Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991

Durga Chew-Bose
“What tethers me to my parents is the unspoken dialogue we share about how much of my character is built on the connection I feel to the world they were raised in but that I've only experienced through photos, visits, food. It's not mine and yet, I get it. First-generation kids, I've always thought, are the personification of déjà vu.”
Durga Chew-Bose, Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays

“The formation of a diaspora could be articulated as the quintessential journey into becoming; a process marked by incessant regoupings, recreations, and reiteration. Together these stressed actions strive to open up new spaces of discursive and performative postcolonial consciousness.”
Okwui Enwezor

Salman Rushdie
“It may be that writers in my position,exiles, or emigrants or expatriates, are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back, even at the risk of being mutilated into pillars of salt. But if we do look back, we must do in the knowledge - which gives rise to profound uncertainties- that our physical alienation from India almost inevitably means that we will not be capable of reclaiming precisely the thing that was lost, that we will, in short, create fictions, not actual cities or villages, but invisible ones, imaginary homelands, Indias of the mind.”
Salman Rushdie

Luisa A. Igloria
“Inevitably, though, there will always be a significant part of the past which can neither be burnt nor banished to the soothing limbo of forgetfulness— myself. I was and still am that same ship which carried me to the new shore, the same vessel containing all the memories and dreams of the child in the brick house with the toy tea set. I am the shore I left behind as well as the home I return to every evening. The voyage cannot proceed without me.”
Luisa A. Igloria

Dionne Brand
“The Door of No Return - real and metaphoric as some places are, mythic to those of us who are scattered in the Americas today. To have one’s belonging lodged in a metaphor is voluptuous intrigue; to inhabit a trope; to be a kind of fiction. To live in the Black Diaspora I think is to live in a fiction - a creation of empires, and also self-creation. It is to be being living inside and outside herself. It is to apprehend the the sign one makes yet to be unable to escape it except in radiant moments of ordinariness made like art. To be a fiction in search of its most resonant metaphor then is even more intriguing.”
Dionne Brand, A Map to the Door of No Return

Bhanu Kapil
“It is psychotic to draw a line between two places.

It is psychotic to go.

It is psychotic to look.

Psychotic to live in a different country forever.

Psychotic to lose something forever.

The compelling conviction that something has been lost is psychotic.

Even the aeroplane's dotted line on the monitor as it descends to Heathrow is purely weird ambient energy.

It is psychotic to submit to violence in a time of great violence and yet it is psychotic to leave that home or country, the place where you submitted again and again, forever.

Indeed, it makes the subsequent involuntary arrival a stressor for psychosis.”
Bhanu Kapil

Monique Truong
“I am forced to admit that I am, to them, nothing but a series of destinations with no meaningful expanses in between. ”
Monique Truong, The Book of Salt

Henning Mankell
“Our exile organizations have been our way of replacing the cities and villages we have lost.”
Henning Mankell, The Dogs of Riga

Elizabeth Catlett
“‎I was born in the US and l have lived in Mexico since 1946. I believe that all these states of being have influenced my work and made it what you see today. I am inspired by Black people and Mexican people, my two peoples. My art speaks for both my peoples”
Elizabeth Catlett, Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico

Fidelis O. Mkparu
“Oftentimes, I had gone to the river to look at my reflection in the sunlight. Each time a face looked at me with subdued eyes. What I saw was not the same as the image I pretended to see when I looked in the mirror. Stubbornly, I found solace in blaming the ripples for the wrinkles and abhorrent distortions on my face. A painful allegory of sight, and a revelation of reality.”

Aminah Mae Safi
“You gave me books and articles. You keep telling me not to forget I'm Arab. But it's not just the white people reminding me who I am, Baba. Arabs remind me I'm not one of them too. This world may never let me forget I am Arab, but it will also keep me from belonging as one of them.”
Aminah Mae Safi, Not the Girls You're Looking For

Viet Thanh Nguyen
“I had never seen this type of clock, carved from hardwood into the shape of our homeland (...) Some craftsman in exile had understood that this was exactly the timepiece his countrymen desired. We were displaced persons, but it was time more than space that defined us. While the distance to return to our lost country was far but finite, the number of years it would take to close that distance was potentially infinite. Thus, for displaced people, the first question was always about time: When can I return?

Refugee, exile, immigrant — whatever species of displaced human we were, we did not simply live in two cultures, as celebrants of the great American melting pot imagined. Displaced people also lived in two time zones, the here and the there, the present and the past, being as we were reluctant time-travelers. But while science fiction imagined time-travelers as moving forwards and backwards in time, this timepiece demonstrated a different chronology. The open secret of the clock, naked for all to see, was that we were only going in circles”
Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer

Shahan Natalie
“Աշխարհի ամէն կողմերը ցրուած հայութեան մասին, անոր գոյութեան պահպանումին շուրջ ինչ ալ գրենք, ինչ ալ փորձենք՝ անօգուտ է։ Ան դատապարտուած է մեռնելու։”
Shahan Natalie, Թուրքերը եւ Մենք

Rohinton Mistry
“And the further they go, the more they'll remember, they can take it from me.”
Rohinton Mistry, Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag

Fidelis O. Mkparu
“Cold November nights. It feels as if summer never happened. The beauty of setting sun, moon, and stars. Sailing to nowhere, but finding happiness in our togetherness. Never forget what we are. Stranded hearts." Fidelis O. Mkparu (2016), author of 'Love's Affliction' (and soon to be published 'Tears before Exaltation')”
Fidelis O Mkparu

“This undying vigilance is such a part of the Jewish psyche that it might as well be genetic. Nomads we are, and nomads we remain. Cars replaced caravans, tents calcified into houses, yet the wanderings of old course through us, simmering under the surface.”
Lev Golinkin, A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir

“my mother thinks i’m a living proof of cultural appropriation
but aren’t i a foreigner in my own country
an outsider
but only on the inside”
Xayaat Muhummed, The Breast Mountains Of All Time Are In Hargeisa

“I want In the Wake to declare that we are Black peoples in the wake with no state or nation to protect us, with no citizenship bound to be respected, and to position us in the modalities of Black life lived in, as, under, despite Black death: to think and be and act from there.”
Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being

Vladimir Nabokov
“With a very few exceptions, all liberal-minded creative forces—poets, novelists, critics, historians, philosophers and so on—had left Lenin’s and Stalin’s Russia. Those who had not were either withering away there or adulterating their gifts by complying with the political demands of the state. What the Tsars had never been able to achieve, namely the complete curbing of minds to the government’s will, was achieved by the Bolsheviks in no time after the main contingent of the intellectuals had escaped abroad or had been destroyed. The lucky group of expatriates could now follow their pursuits with such utter impunity that, in fact, they sometimes asked themselves if the sense of enjoying absolute mental freedom was not due to their working in an absolute void. True, there was among émigrés a sufficient number of good readers to warrant the publication, in Berlin, Paris, and other towns, of Russian books and periodicals on a comparatively large scale; but since none of those writings could circulate within the Soviet Union, the whole thing acquired a certain air of fragile unreality.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

Mordecai Richler
“As nobody bothered to honor them, they very sensibly celebrated each other at fund-raising synagogue dinners, taking turns at being Man-of-the-Year, awarding each other ornate plates to hang over the bar in the rumpus room. Furthermore, God was interested in the fate of the Hershes, with time and consideration for each one. To pray was to be heard. There was not even death, only an interlude below ground. For one day, as Rabbi Polsky assured them, the Messiah would blow his horn, they would rise as one and return to Zion, buried with twigs in their coffins, as Baruch had once said, to dig their way to Him before the neighbors.”
Mordecai Richler, St. Urbain's Horseman

“The brick walls that appear are not there as obstacles, they are simply there for you to prove how much you want to stay”
Alba Kunadu Sumprim, A place of beautiful nonsense

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“One day, I will look up and all the people I know will be dead or abroad.” She had spoken wearily.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

Amy M. Le
“Grit and tenacity will take you far in life, but love and forgiveness will carry you to the finish line.”
Amy M. Le, Snow in Vietnam: A Novel

“I also feel this same unquantifiable phenomenon in the Caribbean; there is a cultural and spiritual freedom that people have growing up in a place that they feel belongs to them and they belong to, however severe the material challenges in that place may be.”

Ursula K. Le Guin
“But a generation that knows only how to travel — can they teach a generation how to arrive?”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Birthday of the World and Other Stories

K-Ming Chang
“I'll marry your father, any man I can ride away from here. The irony: We're the same as Ma. That's what Ma did, marry out of her country, marry out of her body.”
K-Ming Chang, Bestiary

“On the rare occasions when Romani Gypsies meet south Asians from India or Pakistan, they are astonished to discover that they can understand many of the words these people use in their language, such as Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. There is thus a connection with eastern Europe - Romania and Hungary - but also with far-away India.”
Yaron Matras

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