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According to Laila Lalami, the whole process of emigration is engulfed with social invisibility. The fiction novel elaborates how migrants encounter social invisibility. Migrants lack social link. They face isolation from the society and stand alone as islands or invisible beings. Emigrants lack social acceptance. This is evident through Faten, who cannot get any assistance even from her frequent customers. She suffers in the fate of prostitution in a foreign land until she later realises that she is the only one who can assist herself. This creates a clear picture of social discrimination among emigrants in their new nations. The aspect of social invisibility is also evident in Aziz as Spanish emigrant. When he goes back home, Aziz presents Spain as the best place to be as he shares beautiful stories with his family and friends. However, this is ironical based on the fact that Aziz is a victim of invisibility among the native Spaniards. At one point in his mission to migrate to Spain from Morocco, Aziz was detected by the Spanish Guardian Civil and deported back. This is a sign of discrimination. Even in his life in Spain, Aziz is facing invisibility. The two, among other migrants, depict the element of social obscurity caused by emigration (Lalami 2005 p. 102-156).
The author categorises social invisibility as the contributing factor to emigration. The characters stand out invisible in their society-Morocco. Because of her position in the society, Faten cannot find justice in her homeland. She is expelled from school unfairly, by the influence of Larbi Amrani, father to Noura who has a significant impact on the ministry of education. Because of the social invisibility, she is forced to immigrate and seek for a better life in Spain. The economic precarity creates social invisibility where Aziz feels unsuitable in Morocco and migrates to Spain. The move by Aziz is the urge to upgrade his financial status and that of the family to bridge the social gap brought about by invisibility. However, social obscurity befalls these characters even in their ‘land of hope’-Spain (Lalami 2005 p. 68).
In conclusion, the book attempts to discourage emigration. In the comparison between the two among other main characters, it is apparently evident that migration is not a solution to economic precarity as perceived by many people. Emigration is not a guarantee to a better life. Although few of the immigrants may succeed and meet their dreams in their new nationalities, some emigrants equally fail and live terrible lives away from their motherland. Emigration is neither a solution to social invisibility. Instead, migrants are more likely to face social invisibility in their immigrated nations. Migration leads to social discrimination and isolation. East or west, the home stands out to be the best place to be. Emigrants expose their lives to vulnerable circumstances. Some even end up losing their lives in an attempt to emigrate illegally. Those who succeed to emigrate may end up being victims of social vices such as prostitution and terrorism due to lack of employment in the newly settled places. You don’t need to go abroad to make it in life. The fate of one’s future is predetermined by their vision and dedication in their activities.
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