A little girl living in eastern Aleppo, Syria has recently begun tweeting what it’s like living in the war-ravaged metropolis where Russian and Syrian jets have been bombing consistently over the last ten days.
With the help of her mother, seven-year old Bana Alabed offers a much-needed voice into the dialogue surrounding the Syrian civil war. Sharing family photographs and home videos, the pair tweet everyday activities, old memories from before the war, and report on damages that bombings have caused nearby.
Speaking on Skype with The Guardian, Alabed’s mother Fatemah explained what it’s like to constantly live on edge, knowing one’s existence is perpetually under threat. She said, “When bombs strike, our hearts shake before the buildings do.”
Fatemah explained that she came up with the idea for her daughter to start a Twitter account because “Bana asked me why is the world not hearing us? Why is nobody helping us?”
Despite the persistent bombings, Fatemah can’t bear to leave Aleppo, saying that the city is an integral part of her life and family’s history. She told The Guardian, “You can’t leave your own skin. This is where our parents lived, it’s our country, our home, our breath.”
To hear the experience of living on the frontlines from the perspective of a local girl and her mother is truly heartbreaking. While the horrors of the war are often lost in factual accounts of death tolls, air raids, and political jargon, Alabed’s message of peace is a welcome narrative.
Although their tweets are written in basic English, Alabed and her mother dismantle the typical, cold-hearted journalism coming out of Aleppo which so often buries the existence of human emotion.
The #Aleppo hospital is today again bombed while it's repaired, dear world where do we go when my kids are injured?. - Fatemah— Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) October 3, 2016
Banner photo credit: Twitter, @AlabedBana