Bana al-Abed

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Bana al-Abed
Born 7 June 2009 (aged 8)
Aleppo, Syria
Residence Turkey (since December 2016)
Nationality Syrian
Years active 2016 – present

Bana al-Abed (Arabic: بنا العبد‎; born 7 June 2009) is a Syrian girl from rebel-held Aleppo who, with assistance from her English-speaking mother, allegedly sends messages through Twitter documenting the siege of the city.[1][2] Most of these tweets have documented issues such as airstrikes, destruction, hunger, displacement, the prospect of her and her family's death, her longing for a peaceful childhood, the al-Bab district of eastern Aleppo, and her general calls for peace.[3]

Al-Abed's Twitter account, @AlabedBana, was created on September 24, 2016. Within two days of setting up the account, this 7-year-old girl had used the #HolocaustAleppo, #MassacreInAleppo, #StopAleppoMassacre hashtags and tweeted at Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Barack Obama and Syrian President Bashar Assad.[4] Twitter has verified al-Abed's account, indicating that "an account of public interest is authentic."[5] The account has nearly 370,000 followers,[6] and is managed by Bana's mother Fatemah. On December 4, 2016, during the 17th Aleppo offensive, her account was taken down, but it was back up within two days and she has been tweeting since.[7]

Early life[edit]

Bana al-Abed's mother, Fatemah, was an English teacher before the war. Her father Ghassan is a lawyer who worked for the ruling local council in southeastern Aleppo.[8] He was injured on 21 December 2016.[9] She has two younger brothers, Noor and Mohamed.[10] Bana also reportedly wanted to be a teacher, but stopped going to school because of the war which destroyed it.[11]

Bana received an ebook copy of Harry Potter from J. K. Rowling in November 2016 after tweeting that she could not obtain a physical copy locally.[12] Her family's house was destroyed during a bombing later that month, but she and her family said that they survived with minor injuries.[13]

After the success of the Aleppo offensive by government forces, Turkey and Russia agreed on a ceasefire and evacuation of rebels and civilians from Aleppo. When the evacuations did not go as planned, her mother mentioned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for making the ceasefire work, and the Foreign Minister said that they were doing all they could to get her and others out.[14] On 19 December 2016, it was reported that Bana Alabed was among the 350 people who were evacuated from the former rebel-held districts of Aleppo on that day after its capture by government forces.[15]

After evacuating Aleppo, Bana was interviewed by Hadi Al Abdullah, where she clarifies that her father was injured in the Sukari district when their house was bombed.[9][16]

On 21 December, Bana and her family were officially allowed to live in Turkey, and met President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in front of international press.[17][18]

On 7 April 2017, Bana supported the Shayrat missile strike ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump as a reaction to the chemical weapons attack three days before.[19]

On 12 May 2017, Bana and her family were granted Turkish citizenship by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[20]

In October 2017, Bana visited New York.[21] At the Headquarters of the United Nations she recorded a Twitter message.[22]

Simon and Schuster has published her memoir in a book titled Dear World.[23]

Criticism concerning the Twitter account[edit]

Her account has been subject to criticism from vocal opponents, including the setting up of accounts to publicly criticize the account in question.[24] Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has said that her account was "propaganda", referring to the claim that the account is being used to propagate and legitimise the use of military force by the United States, a claim which was echoed by users on Twitter.[12]

A journalist for The New Yorker noted that her "video statements often have a scripted quality, as if she is being coached by her mother to communicate her thoughts in a language that she is only beginning to learn."[25]

In a now deleted tweet, Bana said it is "better to start 3rd world war instead of letting Russia & assad commit #HolocaustAleppo".[26][27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mezzofiore, Gianluca. "The trolls who believe Bana, 7-year-old Syrian girl, isn't real". Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "Aleppo girl's Twitter appeals for peace capture world's attention". 
  3. ^ "7-year-old Bana Alabed tweets her life in besieged Aleppo, the horror of Syria airstrikes". Daily Sabah. 
  4. ^ "Doubts raised over Aleppo girl Bana al-Abed's Twitter account". RT. 8 December 2016 – via www.rt.com/. 
  5. ^ "About verified accounts". Twitter. 
  6. ^ "Where's Bana? Seven-Year-Old Syrian Girl Goes Quiet". 
  7. ^ "Aleppo tweeting girl Bana al-Abed 'is safe'". BBC. 5 December 2016 – via www.bbc.com. 
  8. ^ Molloy, David (2 October 2016). "Meet the seven-year-old girl tweeting from Aleppo". BBC – via www.bbc.com. 
  9. ^ a b Alabed, Bana. "My dad is injured now. I am crying.-Bana #Aleppo". 
  10. ^ "'I saw deaths and I almost died': Read seven-year-old's harrowing tweets from inside war-torn Aleppo". 
  11. ^ "The seven-year-old girl tweeting the horrors of war in her Aleppo neighbourhood". Telegraph. 
  12. ^ a b Rick Gladstone; Megan Specia; Sydney Ember (December 7, 2016). "Girl Posting to Twitter From Aleppo Gains Sympathy, but Doubts Follow". New York Times. 
  13. ^ Bogart, Nicole. "Syrian girl with viral Twitter account trapped in Aleppo, family worried army will target them". Global News. 
  14. ^ "7-Year-Old Syria War Symbol, Bana al-Abed, Evacuated From Aleppo". 
  15. ^ "Aleppo battle: Hundreds leave Syria city as evacuations resume". BBC. 19 December 2016. 
  16. ^ هادي العبدالله Hadi Alabdallah (19 December 2016). "An Interview with the famous Syrian Little girl from Aleppo : Bana Alabed" – via YouTube. 
  17. ^ CNN, Muhammad Lila and James Masters. "Bana Alabed: Aleppo girl meets Erdogan". CNN. 
  18. ^ "Bana Alabed, Aleppo's tweeting girl, meets Turkey's President Erdogan". BBC News. 21 December 2016. 
  19. ^ Samuelson, Kate (7 April 2017). "The Syrian Girl Who Tweeted Aleppo's Downfall Welcomed Trump's Air Strike". TIME. 
  20. ^ Serdat Oguz, Yuksel (12 May 2017). "Erdogan gives Aleppo's 'Twitter girl', family Turkish ID". Anadolu Agency. 
  21. ^ Specia, Megan (6 October 2017). "Bana al-Abed: From a Syrian War Zone to New York City" – via www.nytimes.com. 
  22. ^ Alabed, Bana. "At the @UN this is my message to the world " we can end the war". Dear World, why are you silent? The Children are dying. Help us.pic.twitter.com/rUeDX0EgZr". 
  23. ^ "Dear World : Book by Bana Alabed : Official Publisher Page : Simon & Schuster". Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  24. ^ Taylor, Adam (December 14, 2016). "In Aleppo's misinformation war, a 7-year-old girl prompts a fact check". The Washington Post. 
  25. ^ "Bana Alabed, Twitter's Child Witness to the Battle for Aleppo". The New Yorker. 2016-12-06. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  26. ^ "Bana Alabed on Twitter: "Dear world, it's better to start 3rd world w…". Twitter. 2016-12-03. Archived from the original on 2016-12-03. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  27. ^ "Finding Bana - Proving the Existence of a 7-Year-Old Girl in Eastern Aleppo - bellingcat". bellingcat. 2016-12-14. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 

External links[edit]