Mykonos is cold in the winter at night, and Nadia and Saeed cuddle closely, fully clothed, for warmth. The next day, the camp’s residents rush toward a new door that leads to Germany, only for armed guards to order them away. This kind of false hope becomes common in the next few days. Saeed runs into an acquaintance who promises to help them escape to Sweden, but the man absconds with the down payment they give him.
Saeed asks Nadia why she still wears her black robes when she no longer needs them. She insists she never needed them, but she uses them to send a signal. He asks whether the signal is directed at him, too, and she says no.
Saeed and Nadia start to run low on food. One day, Saeed buys a fishing rod but catches nothing. As they leave the beach, they see four men following them. As they hurry away, Nadia slips on the rocks and cuts her arm. The men continue to follow them, so Nadia and Saeed drop the rod and hurry toward a building surrounded by guards. They set up their tent in the guards’ sightline to stay safe from the men.
Some time later, Saeed and Nadia go to the outskirts of the Old Town, where the locals live, to have the wound on Nadia’s arm checked out because it hasn’t healed. A young volunteer helps bandage Nadia’s wound. She and Nadia start talking. The woman promises to help them find a way off the island. She takes down Nadia’s number, and after that, the two of them meet often to chat. The woman eventually finds a door that Saeed and Nadia can escape through and brings them there. She hugs Nadia tightly before saying goodbye. Nadia and Saeed go through the door.
Analysis: Chapter 6
In this chapter, Saeed and Nadia have their first major disagreement because of their different emotional reactions to leaving their country. Nadia treats setting up their tent in the refugee camp as “playing house,” which implies that she finds fun in the situation and approaches moving with a sense of adventure. When children play house, they imitate the domesticity of adult life using imagination, which indicates that Nadia doesn’t see their tent as permanent but rather a barebones version of what their new life will be. Instead of looking to the future as Nadia does, Saeed cannot leave the past behind and focuses on his father. He views the camp as a site of loss, an ending instead of a potential beginning. Therefore, Nadia trying to kiss him in a spirit of adventure and play inspires a bitterness in Saeed because her joy hurts in the face of his grief. Furthermore, her ability to immediately look forward while he still looks backward demonstrates a fundamental difference in how they view leaving their country, which foreshadows further conflict.
The lack of infrastructure or any sort of social organization puts the residents of the refugee camp in a vulnerable situation. Because they don’t have legal recourse for crimes committed against them, Saeed and Nadia have no way to retrieve the money the scammer stole. When the group of men follows them, Saeed and Nadia do find some form of shelter in the guise of armed guards. However, these guards do not exist to protect the likes of Saeed and Nadia but, in fact, to protect doors to wealthier countries from Saeed and Nadia. They only provide a measure of protection in this case because if the men were to attack Saeed and Nadia in front of the guards, the guards would likely consider this violence a disturbance to the general peace of the island. Without utilities like running water, Nadia cannot treat a simple cut on her arm, and it begins to fester. By forcing the refugees to live without legal protections or infrastructure, only those people who are willing to take dangerous risks or commit crimes themselves thrive, leaving innocents like Saeed and Nadia in danger.
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