“I saw deaths and almost died”
With those words, seven-year Bana Alabed offered a glimpse into the relentless, numbing horror of the Syrian conflict.
For the past two months, Bana has been tweeting about life in Aleppo, which has been all but destroyed by the civil war, to more than 160,000 followers worldwide.
Recently and with the help of her mother Fatemah, a teacher, the seven year old tweeted author JK Rowling to ask whether there was any way to get the Harry Potter books in Aleppo. The author quickly responded, and a member of her team sent the series sent as e-books.
However, the tweet - which captured the imagination of thousands worldwide - is one of the few rare sunny episodes in Bana’s Twitter feed, which otherwise details the everyday atrocities of the Syrian war.
In one tweet, Bana posts a picture of a young child, who has been killed and is surrounded by blood, along with the caption. “Oh dear world, I am crying tonight, this is my friend killed by a bomb tonight. I can't stop crying.”
In another, Bana is captured on video cowering in a corner as bombs can be heard crashing in the background.
In Bana’s most recent posts - just a few hours ago - her mother explains that the family is on the run and fighting for their lives.
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Arm yourself with knowledge
“What is important is that [the public] has a knowledge of what is happening,” says Janine Di Giovanni, author of a book about the Syrian conflict, The Morning They Came For Us. “When people are aware they can make a louder noise. They will be angry and sad and they will feel the need to do something - even writing a letter - these things add up. This is how we helped to end the war in Bosnia: by public awareness and pressure.”