Asylum is in the news a lot today, and has suddenly been looming large in my own life too, so I took a break from my current reading to find time for the recently published The Book of Boaz. Definitely time well spent!
It’s a challenging but very readable account of asylum in the UK and tells the story of how the author, Dave Smith, came to set up a charity – Boaz Trust – with the specific aim of serving the needs of destitute asylum seekers. The content provides wide-ranging coverage of the issues – the legalities and asylum processes, its indignities and injustices, and its people. And it’s the real-life stories that are seamlessly woven throughout the account that bring a deeply human face to an otherwise hard-hitting message.
One chapter after another I found myself confronted with irrefutable evidence that much is wrong with the UK asylum system in place today – so much so indeed that I would be surprised if any reader of this book could honestly disagree with the idea that the current system damages so many already very vulnerable people.
The Book of Boaz is a book I would highly recommend for very wide reading. Whatever your starting point on the question of asylum, Dave Smith’s style is very straightforward and readable and he is thorough in his coverage of the system, whilst also incorporating the human touch, and even managing to inject some of his own wry sense of humour – perhaps a coping mechanism for those times when the policies and their implementation seem to make no coherent sense at all.
Wherever you currently stand on issues of immigration, and particularly the whole question of asylum seekers and refugees, I would urge you to read this book for a comprehensive and thoroughly up-to-date overview of the UK asylum process. It is a superb eyewitness account written by someone who has worked for and among asylum seekers in the UK for more than a decade. Dave Smith gives voice to the voiceless and it is a voice that cries out to be heard.