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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 with imprisonment or death upon return. It can be a form of punishment and solitude.
It is common to distinguish between internal exile, i.e., forced resettlement within the country of residence, and external exile, deportation outside the country of residence. Although most commonly used to describe an individual situation, the term is also used for groups (especially ethnic or national groups), or for an entire government. Terms such as diaspora and refugee describe group exile, both voluntary and forced, and government in exile describes a government of a country that has been forced to relocate and argue its legitimacy from outside that country.
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 or legal matters (such as tax or criminal allegations), an act of shame or repentance, or isolating oneself to be able to devote time to a particular thing.
Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."
|Name||Ex-state||Term of government||Exiled to|
|Bahadur Shah II||Mughal Empire||1837–1857||Burma|
|Nicholas II of Russia||Russia||1894–1917||Internal exile to Siberia|
|King Zog||Albania||1926–1939||United Kingdom|
|Jean-Bédel Bokassa||Central African Republic||1966–1976||1) Côte d'Ivoire 2) France|
|Pol Pot||Cambodia||1976–1979||Internal exile (Cambodia)|
|Idi Amin||Uganda||1971–1979||1) Libya 2)Saudi Arabia|
|Alan García||Peru||1985–1990 and 2006–2011||France from 1992 to 2001|
|Erich Honecker||German Democratic Republic|
|1971–1990||1) USSR, 2) Chile|
|Mengistu Haile Mariam||Ethiopia||1987–1991||Zimbabwe|
|Mobutu Sese Seko||Democratic Republic of the Congo||1965–1997||Morocco|
|Zine El Abidine Ben Ali||Tunisia||1987–2011||Saudi Arabia|
|François Bozizé||Central African Republic||2003–2013||1)Cameroon, 2)Benin (requested)|
A wealthy citizen who departs from a former abode for a lower tax jurisdiction (a "tax haven") in order to reduce his/her tax burden is termed a tax exile. Creative people such as authors and musicians who achieve sudden wealth sometimes find themselves among this group. Examples include the British-Canadian writer Arthur Hailey, who moved to the Bahamas to avoid taxes following the runaway success of his novels Hotel and Airport, and the English rock band the Rolling Stones who, in the spring of 1971 owed more in taxes than they could pay and left Britain before the government could seize their assets. Members of the band all moved to France for a period of time where they recorded music for the album that came to be called Exile on Main Street, the Main Street of the title referring the French Riviera. In 2012 Eduardo Saverin, one of the founders of Facebook, made headlines by renouncing his U.S. Citizenship before his company's IPO. The dual Brazilian/U.S. citizen's decision to move to Singapore and renounce his citizenship spurred a bill in the U.S. Senate, the Ex-PATRIOT Act, which would have forced such wealthy "tax exiles" to pay a special tax in order to re-enter the United States.
In some cases a person voluntarily lives in exile to avoid legal issues, such as litigation or criminal prosecution. An example of this was Asil Nadir, who fled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for 17 years rather than face prosecution in connection with the failed £1.7 bn company Polly Peck in the United Kingdom.
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 586 BCE and again following the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem in the year AD 70. Many Jewish prayers include a yearning to return to Jerusalem and the Jewish homeland.
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.
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. Other examples include the Free French Forces government of Charles De Gaulle of the same time, and the Central Tibetan Administration, commonly known as the Tibetan government-in-exile, and headed by the 14th Dalai Lama.
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'.
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:
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