Portraits of Yemen: Before the Forgotten War
I’ve been following the situation in Yemen all summer, watching a country we visited last year endure airstrikes, ground fighting and starvation amidst what is being called “the forgotten war.”
Just last year we found ourselves on a layover through the country's capital, Sana'a, and decided to do a day trip into town. We wanted to see the 2,500 year-old mud dwellings that makes this city a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest on earth. As we wove through the streets, we politely refused offers of Qat and watched a blindfolded camel turn an olive press. We talked to a blacksmith hammering away on a Jambiya sword, one of the country's biggest handicrafts. A spice seller told me about how great his wifi was. The tea was strong. Life was good. You would have never placed Yemen as "one of the most dangerous countries in the world."
But such discoveries is the revelation of travel.
Today is a different story. Turning on the BBC I watch footage of a very different Yemen, one where the mud houses we climbed have been demolished by Saudi airstrikes fighting a northern rebel group and somehow Iran is involved. Who knows what is really going on, but in the meantime 20 million people are on the brink of starvation.
I captured Sana'a as I saw it in my photos, one where a future was brighter than the one that played out. I wonder where the people in these pictures are now, if they are ok, alive, escaped. To me, it's a beautiful disaster.
Music Video: Cherry Blossom, filmed in Sana'a and Socotra