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Comma Press to Publish Don’t Look Left: A Diary of Genocide

By Medha Godbole


Don’t Look Left: A Diary of Genocide, by Palestinian Authority Minister of Culture, Atef Abu Saif, is set to be published in February 2024. Comma Press will release the book which will detail an account of everyday life in Gaza since the 7 October attacks. The book will comprise eighty-five days of the Israel-Gaza war. According to the publisher, this is a depiction of a man’s journey from being a government minister to a refugee in a camp. The horror and helplessness that a war ushers in with it, makes for a major part of this book.


An early version of the book, covering the first sixty days since 7 October, was released as an e-book on 26 December, during Abu Saif’s dwelling at a tent in Rafah. Interestingly, several of Abu Saif’s diary entries were initially in the form of whatsapp messages and voice notes to his publisher.


What would have been some quality time with his son for Abu Saif, turned into a complete nightmare. Whilst visiting Gaza with his fifteen-year-old son, Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel. They had to run through the streets looking for shelter as the hotel they were staying into had been reduced to debris. This and many more gruelling incidents make up the heart-wrenching account. 


Comma Press, in its statement about the book mentioned that Abu Saif’s accounts cover everything from first-hand reports of shockingly graphic rescue efforts – many involving close relatives or fellow journalists and writers – to living in UN shelters in schools. It also includes narration of him being displaced multiple times, his struggle to find food and maintain contact with the outside world like so many other Gazans. The memoir also encapsulates the part of his journey where he had to make the decision to leave his father in the north for his son’s safety.


The proceeds from sales of his book will go to four Palestinian charities: Medical Aid for Palestinians, the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Afaq Shadida/New Horizons Children’s Centre and Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign.


Abu Saif has previously written six novels and has published a war diary, The Drone Eats With Me, about the 2014 Gaza war. Extracts from his latest diaries were also published by The Guardian along with other outlets. 


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