Bana al-Abed

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Bana al-Abed
Famille Alabed, 19 décembre 2016.jpg
Bana al-Abed with her mother in 2016
Born (2009-06-07) 7 June 2009 (age 12)
NationalitySyrian
Years active2016–present
Known forTweeting about war in Aleppo

Bana al-Abed (Arabic: بانا العبد‎; born 7 June 2009) is a Syrian girl from Aleppo, Syria who, with assistance from her English-speaking mother, sent messages through Twitter documenting the siege of the city.[1][2][3] 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.[4]

Al-Abed's Twitter account, @AlabedBana, was created on 24 September 2016. 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 4 December 2016, during the 17th Aleppo offensive, her account was taken down, but it was back up within two days and the account 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 the account tweeted 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, the Twitter account tweeted in support of the Shayrat missile strike ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump as a reaction to the Khan Shaykhun 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 appeared in a recorded a Twitter message.[22]

Simon and Schuster published her memoir, entitled Dear World.[23]

In 2018, Bana was honoured with the Rising Star Award at The Asian Awards.[24]

Criticism[edit]

Her account has been subject to criticism from vocal opponents, including the setting up of accounts to publicly criticize the account in question.[25] The Twitter account drew a great number of trolls and voices sympathetic to the Syrian government and its Russian backers, who assailed Bana as a fraud. Some called Bana and her mother fictions created by the United States as a propaganda tool to malign the Syrian and Russian governments.[12]

A journalist for The New Yorker observed 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."[26][27]

In a now deleted tweet, the account tweeted it is "better to start 3rd world war instead of letting Russia & assad commit #HolocaustAleppo".[28][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mezzofiore, Gianluca (5 December 2016). "The trolls who believe Bana, 7-year-old Syrian girl, isn't real". Mashable. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Aleppo girl's Twitter appeals for peace capture world's attention". Globe and Mail.
  3. ^ a b "Finding Bana - Proving the Existence of a 7-Year-Old Girl in Eastern Aleppo". Bellingcat. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  4. ^ "7-year-old Bana Alabed tweets her life in besieged Aleppo, the horror of Syria airstrikes". Daily Sabah.
  5. ^ "About verified accounts". Twitter.
  6. ^ "Where's Bana? Seven-Year-Old Syrian Girl Goes Quiet". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Aleppo tweeting girl Bana al-Abed 'is safe'". BBC. 5 December 2016.
  8. ^ Molloy, David (2 October 2016). "Meet the seven-year-old girl tweeting from Aleppo". BBC.
  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 (7 December 2016). "Girl Posting to Twitter From Aleppo Gains Sympathy, but Doubts Follow". The 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. ^ "Asian Awards 2018: Recognition with Lots of Glitz and Glamour". Desiblitz. 29 April 2018.
  25. ^ Taylor, Adam (14 December 2016). "In Aleppo's misinformation war, a 7-year-old girl prompts a fact check". The Washington Post.
  26. ^ "Bana Alabed, Twitter's Child Witness to the Battle for Aleppo". The New Yorker. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  27. ^ https://streamable.com/s/clwcl/lrxqgb
  28. ^ "Bana Alabed on Twitter: "Dear world, it's better to start 3rd world w…". Twitter. 3 December 2016. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.

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