In Exit West, Saeed and Nadia become immigrants, leaving their war-torn country. In other words, they become “global others”. These “global others” are often seen as the unwanted members of society, and many don’t see them as people at all. The irony behind this is that there isn’t much separating them from everyone else. What makes someone a “global other”, as opposed to someone else, is simply where they were born and the conditions they were subjected to. Discriminating against and ostracizing the “global others” is not only harmful to the victims of that treatment, but also to the perpetrators of it. Those that treat “global others” negatively limit their worldview and also set a precedent for how to treat all future “global others, maybe including themselves. Who can say what the next war-torn or hunger stricken nation will be? Who can say who the next “global others” will be?
Not to get political, but with our current President, the next “global others” could have easily been us Americans, the same Americans that make up a nation doing its best to keep “global others” out. If we keep others out when they need help, who is going to let us in when we need help? Many Americans would and have denied this as a possibility, claiming to be a superior nation. They would say that “global others” exist because their nations were poorer (spoiler: the United States owes a lot of money), or that their nations were not as sophisticated as our own. Exit West does a good job of displaying just how incorrect this is throughout the novel. When introducing Nadia’s character, it described her “sitting at her desk at the insurance company, on an afternoon of handling executive auto policy renewals by phone, when she received an instant message from Saeed asking if she would like to meet” (23). Nadia lived a normal life, one that any American woman might live, working a modern-day desk job and texting a crush on her cellphone; she had all the resources and capabilities we would consider important to lead a successful life in the United States, only she was not born in the United States, she was not raised in the United States, and unlike those of us that were born and raised in the United States, she was forced to flee a war zone.