Author: Bushra al-Maqtari
Translator: Sawad Hussein
Published October 2022
In 2015, a year after it started, Bushra al-Maqtari decided to document the suffering of civilians in the Yemeni civil war, which has killed over 200,000 people according to the UN. Inspired by the work of Svetlana Alexievich, she spent two years visiting different parts of the country, putting her life at risk by speaking with her compatriots, and gathered over 400 testimonies, a selection of which appear in What Have You Left Behind?. Purposefully alternating between accounts from the victims of the Houthi rebels and those of the Saudi-led coalition, al-Maqtari highlights the disillusionment and anguish felt by civilians trapped in a war outside of their own making.
As difficult to read as it is to put down, Bushra al-Maqtari's unvarnished chronicle of the conflict in Yemen serves as a vital reminder of the scale of the human tragedy behind the headlines, and offers a searing condemnation of the international community's complicity in the war's continuation.