What are some examples of irony or satire contained in George Orwell's "Marrakech"?

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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George Orwell’s writings often examine the plight of oppressed people, whether it be an allegorical story like Animal Farm, a dystopian novel like 1984, or an essay about the treatment and status of the native Morrocans in “Marrakech.”

In "Marrakech," Orwell writes about how white colonialists perceive (or sometimes do not perceive) the locals who live and work in Morroco. With a series of ironic statements, Orwell establishes and develops the idea that the whites who hold power not only hold the poor Africans in little esteem, they often do not even notice them at all.

Keep in mind that irony means something surprising or unexpected. The following statements by Orwell are ironic because the reader does not expect to read them—they don’t sound believable.

All people who work with their hands are partly invisible, and the more important the work they do, the less visible they are.
He is the same colour as the earth, and a great deal less interesting to look at. 
One could probably live here for years without noticing that for nine-tenths of the people the reality of life is an endless, back-breaking struggle to wring a little food out of an eroded soil. 
Then for the first time I noticed the poor old earth-coloured bodies, bodies reduced to bones and leathery skin, bent double under the crushing weight. Yet I suppose I had not been five minutes on Moroccan soil before I noticed the overloading of the donkeys and was infuriated by it.

Having established the idea that the dark-skinned Morrocans are not valued or even noticed by the whites who control the country, Orwell then brings up an important point that calls into question the white man's ability to control to hold power in Morroco. The irony here is that even though they may not notice the poor, oppressed Morrocans on a day-to-day basis, they do recognize the inevitability of their eventual overthrow:

But there is one thought which every white man (and in this connection it doesn't matter twopence if he calls himself a Socialist) thinks when he sees a black army marching past. "How much longer can we go on kidding these people? How long before they turn their guns in the other direction?" 

In other words, sooner or later these “invisible” people are going to stand up and assert themselves, and then it will be the white man who has to worry about his own welfare. 

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