Bana Alabed, the 7-year-old Syrian girl who’s been chronicling her experiences in Aleppo, is being accused by an inordinate number of Internet trolls of allegedly fabricating her Twitter stories.
Bana, who uses the Twitter handle @AlabedBana, has more than 230,000 followers. Her family lives in fear as the war continues to haunt the country and take innocent lives. Her recent tweets suggest that the situation in Aleppo is not improving. Aleppo has been witnessing a shower of bombs from both Russian and Syrian troops.
Her mother, Fatemah, helps her compose the tweets, which are in English. On Sunday, Fatemah tweeted about their certainty that the army would capture them. A day after, she tweeted, “Under attack. Nowhere to go, every minute feels like death. Pray for us. Goodbye – Fatemah.”
The tweets are mostly cries for help. In one of them, Bana shared about their lack of medicine and clean water, which she believed would kill her before a bomb. Like most children her age who are fond of playing, Bana also talked about the “death” of her beloved dolls when their house was bombed.
While Bana’s account breaks the hearts of many who can’t do anything but pray for their safety, she and Fatemah are also the targets of trolls, mostly the supporters of the Syrian and Russian governments. There are some who accuse Bana’s father of being a jihadist. Some think that Bana is a fictitious character created by the United States as its propaganda tool. There are those who mock Fatemah and her daughter for being able to tweet despite the chaos surrounding them.
In a video call with BBC, Fatemah said that she’s “disappointed” by how some people reacted to her daughter’s account. She maintained that “all the words come from the heart” and that “all are the truth.” She likewise said that as opposed to what’s being purported by their bashers, they are not members of any rebel group. For those wondering how she learned English, she is a teacher who also signed up to media and law classes while at the university.
Fake profiles mocking Bana have also surfaced on Twitter. One of them, @alabed_banana, mocks the young girl with its bio which reads, “Anne Frank wrote her diary with a ballpoint pen, yrs b4 its invention. I tweet from Aleppo, in perfect English, with electric power being down all day.”
British author J.K. Rowling have also noticed Bana’s account. She sent her Harry Potter ebooks in an attempt to lift her hopes up in such a gloomy time.
Although Bana’s account has received the coveted blue check mark from Twitter, some argued that it’s fairly easy these days to be verified by the social networking site. Nonetheless, a photographer named Aldin Abazovic told Mashable that after using several geolocation services including Google Maps and satellite images, he could confirm that the location of the Periscope videos uploaded by Bana was indeed in Aleppo.
UNICEF spokeswoman for the Middle East and North Africa told The New York Times that while there’s “no way to verify where the tweets are coming from,” it does not change the fact that Bana’s story speaks for the terrified children affected by the conflict.
“There is something symbolic about the tweets that are coming out from Bana, or that account, in the sense that it highlights the story of children who are caught up in the crossfire — it’s not just one girl, it’s many boys and girls.”
The majority of the images on Bana’s timeline were taken inside their apartment, which she shares with her mother, as well as her younger brothers Mohamed, 5, and Noor, 3.
[Featured Image by Bana Alabed/Twitter]