The British government makes a show of force by parading drones and tanks. The drones in particular frighten Saeed and Nadia because they are entirely robotic.

Nadia can get weak cell service around the outskirts of Dark London. One day, while checking the news on her phone, she sees a photo of her checking her phone at that moment on the internet. She finds it jarring, as if there are two alternate versions of her. However, the woman in the photo is actually not her. Nadia wonders if by leaving her country she’s simply changed one source of conflict for another. However, she finds being surrounded by many different people liberating. She always felt stifled in her home country.

The operation to clear the migrants from Dark London begins with gunfire. Nadia and Saeed hide in their room with the mattress pressed against the window. Announcements sound asking the migrants to leave peacefully. The next few days are quiet, but all the soup kitchens have been shut down. The house’s elder council starts rationing food.

Nadia worries that she forced Saeed to leave their country. Saeed worries that he will not be able to protect Nadia. Nadia admits she can understand the nativists’ fear because they did take their houses. Saeed disagrees, citing the refugees in their home country. They talk about what it’s like to die. Saeed suggests it’s like falling asleep.

Two weeks pass, and the British forces stop fighting. No one knows why they change course, whether it was guilt, conscience, or admitting defeat to the growing number of doors. Everyone celebrates as power is restored to the neighborhood.

Analysis: Chapter 8

The British government’s show of force and power in this chapter demonstrates how taking an active stance against vulnerable refugees necessitates a loss of one’s own humanity and moral high ground. The power outage that the government uses to strike with first echoes the power outage that the militants used in their siege of Saeed and Nadia’s city. In both cases, the ability to take electrical power away from people signals control over the infrastructure that creates civilization, metaphorically demonstrating that whoever controls the infrastructure controls civilization. Instead of using public executions like the militants, the British government uses displays of military might like tanks and drones, but both tactics serve the same goal of intimidation. Nadia explicitly compares the British government to the militants while considering her situation, again signaling that the behavior of the government of a wealthy country has decayed to that of a violent militant group. Saeed and Nadia particularly fear the drones because drones are robots, making it seem like they face a war machine instead of human beings and signally the inhumanity at work in attempts to displace the migrants. Finally, the soup kitchen closures at the start of the siege imply that the government has actively stopped compassionate people from helping the vulnerable, a truly inhumane tactic.