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Exile means to be away from one's home (i.e. city, state or country), while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened by prison or death upon return. It can be a form of punishment.
Exile can also be a self-imposed departure from one's homeland. Self-exile is often depicted as a form of protest by the person that claims it, to avoid persecution, an act of shame or repentance, or isolating oneself to be able to devote time to a particular thing.
Government in exile
During a foreign occupation or after a coup d'état, a government in exile of a such afflicted country may be established abroad. One of the most well-known instances of this is the Polish government-in-exile, a government in exile that commanded Polish armed forces operating outside Poland after German occupation during World War II. Another example was the Free French Forces government of Charles De Gaulle of the same time.
Nation in exile
When large groups, or occasionally a whole people or nation is exiled, it can be said that this nation is in exile, or Diaspora. Nations that have been in exile for substantial periods include the Jews, who were deported by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II in 597 BC and again in the years following the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem in the year AD 70. Similarly, though an Armenian Diaspora had existed for centuries, the Western Armenians were exiled "en masse" following the events surrounding the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Survivors were scattered throughout countries in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Their descendants number approximately 2 million people today and are actively militant for the Armenian cause.
After the partitions of Poland in the late 18th century, and following the uprisings (like Kościuszko Uprising, November Uprising and January Uprising) against the partitioning powers (Russian Empire, Prussia and Austro-Hungary), many Poles have chosen – or been forced – to go into exile, forming large diasporas (known as Polonia), especially in France and the United States.The entire population of Crimean Tatars (200,000) that remained in their homeland Crimea was exiled on 18 May 1944 to Central Asia as a form of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment on false accusations. At Diego Garcia, between 1967 and 1973 the British Government forcibly removed some 2,000 Chagossian resident islanders to make way for a military base today jointly operated by the US and UK.
Since the Cuban Revolution over one million Cubans have left Cuba. Most of these self-identify as exiles as their motivation for leaving the island is political in nature. It is to be noted that at the time of the Cuban Revolution, Cuba only had a population of 6.5 million, and was not a country that had a history of significant emigration, it being the sixth largest recipient of immigrants in the world as of 1958. Most of the exiles' children also consider themselves to be Cuban exiles. It is to be noted that under Cuban law, children of Cubans born abroad are considered Cuban Citizens.
Exile in Greek tragedy
To wander away from the city-state (the home) is to be exposed without the protection of government (laws), friends and family. In the ancient Greek world, this was seen as a fate worse than death. Euripedes’ Medea–because of her actions (both in Iolcus and Corinth)-made herself and her family (including Jason) exiles in Corinth. She talks of her exiled state in Corinth: 'I, a desolate woman without a city... no relative at all'. Jason justifies his marriage, to a Corinth royal family member, as an attempt to better this situation: 'When I moved here from the land of Iolkos... what happier godsend could I have found than to marry the king's daughter, poor exile that I was... that I should bring up our children in a manner worthy of my house, and producing brothers to my children by you, I should place them all on level footing'.
The tutor in Medea further reminds us of how selfish men are. Euripides likens all women's position to exile; in their having to leave home to serve their husbands. So Medea was doubly in exile, both in the ordinary sense, as a non-Greek foreigner, and as a woman. In the same speech, Medea talks of her status as 'a foreigner [falling] in the city['s ways]' and, on being married, 'we come to new behaviour, new customs'.
The theme of exile also appears in Euripedes The Bacchae when Dionysus sends Agave and her sisters into exile. Dionysus: 'With your sisters you shall live in exile' and later Agave laments: 'Farewell my city...show us the way Asian women, show us the way to bitter exile'.
From the Bacchae:
- Dionysus: All foreign lands now dance to his [Dionysus's] drum.
- Pentheus: That is why they are foreign and we're not.
- Hobbes, Thomas (1886). Leviathan; Or, The Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth, Ecclesiastical and Civil. George Routledge and Sons. p. 145. http://books.google.com/books?id=8-QtAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA145&dq=Exile+can+be+a+form+of+punishment.&as_brr=1&ie=ISO-8859-1.
- Penal transportation
- Right of asylum (political asylum)
- Category:Exiles by nationality
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