The term 'diaspora' was used to refer to the lives of the Jewish people. While being scattered all over the world, they have managed to conserve their culture. Thus the word is often understood in a narrower sense; dispersion, separation, or scattering of the same.
Today we are witnessing a more diverse form of migration. The refugees, the exiled, the displaced, and the uprooted are some of the labels spawned by the rapidly changing international situation. The diverse minority have built and presented their identities through conflict and solidarity. Therefore, the definition of 'diaspora' is under constant change. It no longer refers to 'foreign' moods alone. 'Diaspora' today extends its definition to reflect the possibility of coexistence.
The myth of an ethnically homogeneous nation was and still is firmly believed to be true in Korea. Although diasporas have always been among us, they were seldom seen: The Korean-Japanese (Zainichi) and the Soviet Koreans (Koryo-saram) that had left colonial Joseon (the name for Korea before the modern era); the displaced and dispersed families of the Korean War; the Korean nurses and miners who went to Germany during the industrialization period. While Korea prided itself on overcoming adversities as a nation, the individual lives of Korean diasporas were easily forgotten.
Meanwhile, there were names that had been erased for the sake of peace and prosperity of the nation.
The Yemeni asylum seekers who had fled their civil-war torn home; the Lai Dai Hans, born to the sexually violated Vietnamese women by South Korean troops during the Vietnam war; the Kopinos, children born to Filipino mothers and South Korean fathers under economic hierarchy. These names were also the targets of hatred because they come from 'outside'.
'Korea' is written on the ID cards of marriage immigrant women. Products made by migrant workers are labeled 'made in Korea'. What does this mean to us? It signifies that we need to face the fact that the homogeneous ethnicity was only a myth. Korea is, and has long been a community of much more diverse, heterogeneous people.
Ever since opening its door to the world, Incheon has been the center of emigration and immigration. In 1902, the first ship of Korean emigrants departed from Incheon for Hawaii. Now more than a hundred years later, Incheon has become the largest gateway to Korea. Through harbors and airports, a countless number of people leave and come to Korea every day. The city holds a century's worth of memories; embracing all the excitement, grief, and cultures of all travelers. These diverse identities travel into the city and mingle. Incheon, the welcoming city, is the perfect home to host the Diaspora Film Festival.