Carriers of Globalization: Loss of Home and Self Within the African Diaspora
44 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2011
Date Written: 2003
This article deals with the tension of “returnees” and how that tension reflects the distribution of resources in globalization through the context of Jamaica. Returnees are often citizens who leave Jamaica in order to take advantage of economic opportunity or to create upward social mobility not presently available to them in their homeland. Returnees maintain connections with family and friends with the desire and purpose to one day return. However, many returnees have been subjected to violent attacks upon returning to their homeland. Returnees in a sense become carriers of globalization, and their return to their homeland signals the very embodiment of the developed world within the developing world.
The ability of Jamaicans to return is made difficult by the realities of globalism; one cannot understand the recent violence against returnees without considering both its material and symbolic effects. Many of the ambitious Jamaican natives who had the means or the connections fled and/or were lured to “First World” countries near the top of the global hierarchy of places. Thus, the returnees similarly bear the trappings of relative affluence gained during their sojourn in the “First World.” However, citizens of the homeland threaten to deprive themselves of the benefits inherent in allowing the returnees to return.
The threat of violence against returnees not only threatens to deprive a significant population a desired return to their homeland but also serves to deny the homeland the needed resources and economic capital the returnee has spent a career accumulating. A national dialogue is in order, lest Jamaica suffer yet another economic setback brought on by Jamaicans abroad who may be inclined to sever their relationships, economic and otherwise, with the island. The Jamaican economy needs the infusion of capital brought by the returnees and the returnees need a peaceful return to their homeland.
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