The three key elements of a diaspora are the forced migration of a people, discrimination against that people, and a longing on the part of that people to return home. A diaspora can therefore be thought to be brought to an end when these elements are eliminated. In the first case, discrimination against a diasporic people might be mitigated and the people integrated into a new society, thereby creating a new home distant from the original homeland. Such a situation might be said to pertain in the mill towns of Maine, site of an economically motivated diaspora of French Canadians from Quebec. Here, in cities such as Lewiston, the Roman Catholic churches, convents, and schools of the French Canadians are found dispersed among various Protestant churches, suggesting the integration over several generations of the communities . In the second case, a diaspora can be concluded with the return of a people to their homeland, as with the creation of the modern state of Israel. Such an act requires certain pragmatic accommodations. In this case, bearing in mind the five-thousand year history of Jerusalem and its control by Babylonians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Ottomons, and British, the end of diaspora entailed the separation of Jerusalem into discrete areas across the city’s four Quarters within which its various communities freely practice their religions . Diasporas are global in scope and involve numerous ethnic and cultural groups. As an abstract concept, diaspora is both difficult to define and to map. For the people forcibly expelled from their homelands, subjected to discrimination in their adoptive countries, and prevented from returning to their native lands, the harsh effects of diaspora were all too real.
Sanborn Map Co. (American Firm, 1867-1962)
[Lewiston, Me, sheet 13]
Lithograph with stenciled water color, 64.0 x 53.1cm
From: Insurance Maps of Lewiston, Anderscoggin County,
(New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1914)
Color Offset printing, 42.6 x 53.9cm
(Jerusalem: The Commercial Press, 1952)