Finding Bana — proving the existence of a 7-year-old girl in East Aleppo

At Bellingcat, Nick Waters and Timmi Allen write: Bana Alabed is a 7 year-old girl who lives in East Aleppo. Through her broken English and simple messages alternating between fear and hope, she has become a representation of the suffering that children face every day within Syria. She is also a star on Twitter. In the three months Bana Alabed’s account has been active it has amassed 284,000 followers, including J. K. Rowling, multiple news reports and over 580 tweets. She also posted multiple videos on Periscope which show her daily life, as well as the bombing that E. Aleppo has endured. Her rapid rise to prominence has resulted in questions from some about the veracity of Bana Alabed, her account and the subject matter she covers. This report will examine the media she has posted, the context in which it is posted, and its probable veracity. Due to the possibility of Bana’s account being deleted, all the tweets we have linked to are screenshots from cached pages.

Bana’s family consists of five members: Her Father, Ghassan al-Abed, reportedly works in the legal department of the local council registering births and deaths. He also currently describes himself as a “Activist against terrorism and ISIS” on his Twitter page, and is something of a poet, having posted poems lamenting the destruction of Aleppo on his Facebook page since October 2015. Her Mother, Fatemah, is an English teacher who has also studied law, politics and, significantly, journalism. [Continue reading…]

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