Realizations About Arab Spring Through Lalami’s Narratives

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It’s hard to imagine why someone would light themselves on fire, taking their own life in a brutal manner, simply to protest something, especially for us Americans. However, after reading Laila Lalami’s novels, reasons for such a horrific decision became slightly more clear to me. I found myself liking characters such as Halima and Youssef in Lalami’s novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits and Secret Son. The characters Lalami created were not crazed members of a terrorist organization, they were regular people who found themselves in a desperate situation. I cannot pretend that I fully understand an issue such as Arab Spring, or what these people must be feeling in order to make such tragic and drastic decisions. Nevertheless, after reading Lalami’s novels I did feel myself coming closer to seeing how people in these situations must feel that they are left with no other options. I believe there are things in life worth dying for, and both Halima and Youssef displayed this. In the end their acts of desperation were heroic, and to a degree they were necessary. After coming to know these characters, I found myself feeling that what they did was right despite the fact that it was drastic. At the very least, I learned that I should not judge others unless I have been placed in the same situation myself. 

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