Anne Frank had a diary; Bana Alabed has Twitter. The 7-year-old girl, who's currently trapped within the besieged city of Aleppo, first gained international fame when J.K. Rowling sent her eBooks of the Harry Potter series after she tweeted at the author.
The little girl, who says she likes to "read to forget the war," has since amassed a huge social media following for her daily tweets on life inside the ravaged city. The account is run by her mother, Fatemah, who set it up in September, just as the Syrian army launched a major offensive to reclaim the rebel-controlled eastern part on the country, where the little girl lives with her mother and brothers.
On Sunday, her tweets became especially troubling as this area came under the heaviest bombardment since the war began. At least 4,000 civilians have fled the area and hundreds have been killed.
One tweet appeared to be a goodbye note, saying "The army got in, this could be our last days sincerely talking. No Internet. Please please please pray for us.- Fatemah."
The army got in, this could be our last days sincerely talking. No Internet. Please please please pray for us.- Fatemah #Aleppo- Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) November 27, 2016
Last message - under heavy bombardments now, can't be alive anymore. When we die, keep talking for 200,000 still inside. BYE.- Fatemah- Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) November 27, 2016
Luckily, the little girl made it out alive, though her house was destroyed.
This is our house, My beloved dolls died in the bombing of our house. I am very sad but happy to be alive.- Bana pic.twitter.com/9i0xxJrQtD- Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) November 29, 2016
This is my reading place where I wanted to start reading Harry Potter but it's bombed. I will never forget. - Bana pic.twitter.com/6fXX2Me8ZB- Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) November 29, 2016
We have no home now. I got minor injury. I didn't sleep since yesterday, I am hungry. I want to live, I don't want to die. - Bana #Aleppo- Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) November 28, 2016
At present, she seems to be alive, but her situation is becoming increasingly dire. Hopefully, her account can help bring more awareness to the atrocities occurring in Syria and help bring an end to the bloodshed.
Update 12/5, 11:33 a.m.: On Sunday, Bana's account was deleted, and a message saying "Sorry that page does not exist" appeared in its place. The account's suspension coincides with the Syrian army moving further into eastern Aleppo. One of the last messages from the account read "We are sure the army is capturing us now. We will see each other another day dear world. Bye. - Fatemah." Twitter users are responding to the child's disappearance from social media with the hashtag #whereisbana.
Update 12/19, 4:13 p.m.: Photos and video footage of Bana Alabded on social media show that the 7-year-old girl was among the 1,500 people who were evacuated from Aleppo on Monday morning, along with her brothers Noor, 3, and Mohammad, 5, and her mother, Fatemah.
"We are happy because our voice reached to all the world," Fatemah told Quasioun New Agency, of their Twitter account. "I am sad because I leave my country. I leave my soul there. I want to take our freedom there, not be like refugee in other countries. I want for my kids a good future. But this is the matter here. They make us leave our country. We can't stay there because there is a lot of bombs and no clean water, no medicine, even they are targeting hospitals and schools. When we get out we had a lot of suffering because we stayed almost 24 hours in bus without water and food and anything. We stayed like a prisoner, but finally we arrived here and we thank God and we thank all our friends who had supporting us."
Bana's Twitter account has also apparently been reinstated, and she and her mother continue to use it to spread messages of peace.
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