New book reveals villagers in Afghanistan think Neasden is the “Wizard of Oz”
PUBLISHED: 19:26 02 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:24 03 February 2016
An author who delved into the lives of poor migrants in Brent for his new book has revealed there is a whole valley in Afghanistan that dreams of Neasden as the “Wizard of Oz”.
Writer and journalist Ben Judah, 27, spent two years living amongst the capital’s rough-sleeping migrants for “This is London: Life and death in the world city”.
He claims young men are making the journey from remote Afghanistan to Neasden expecting to find the fabled yellow brick road but wind up in squalid “beds in sheds”.
In the book released today, Mr Judah tells how two men running a butcher’s shop in Neasden made their dangerous voyage from Afghanistan aged 16 and 17.
Captivated by stories of an “emerald city of comfort, health, and everything they have glimpsed of the West”,bound up with the cash and pictures sent by their village’s “London son” who has already made it here, the pair set out for Neasden, braving people traffickers, gunfire and drugs smugglers.
The author also produced a video of his research following the lives of migrants, some of whom live in Neasden and Cricklewood, for the BBC’s Newsnight programme, available to view here.
A full interview with Mr Judah will be in the Brent & Kilburn Times.