Penguin Publishing Group 2012
The controversially titled book, The People Smuggler pro a fascinating insight into the asylum seeker experience. This story explores the life of Ali Al Jenabi, an Iraqi man who endures the brutal regime of Sadaam Hussein and is forced to flee for his life. It tells the story through his eyes, from a lost childhood in Iraq in the 1970s, to the terror of Abu Ghraib prison and life fighting against the regime, to fleeing to neighbouring Iran and his perilous journey to get his family to safety in Australia. Ali’s story is compellingly told, and forces readers to consider a radical new perspective on the experiences of asylum seekers when United Nations processes fail. This book is an absorbing and unique account of the Howard government’s advent of People Smuggling laws in 2002 and their broader consequences. It presents an insider account of detention centre process, visa applications and the pain of losing families and friends in a desperate search for freedom and safety. This story evokes a radical re-thinking of the rhetoric in Australian public debate about ‘people smuggling’ and ‘boat people’ and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to see the human side of this issue.
Three Questions this book raised for me:
- How do we respond compassionately to the needs of asylum seekers?
- How do we cut through the media hype and political spin to better inform the public about the issues around asylum seekers?
- How do we imagine a world where people are free to live in their own countries without fear of persecution? What can we do to make this a reality?
Written by Holly Wright