Bana Alabed is a name that people following the conflict in Aleppo will easily recognize especially if they are regulars on Twitter. Bana is the daughter of a Syrian woman known simply as Fateemah who took to tweeting the horrors of Aleppo from within using the twitter handle; @AlabedBana.
On Sunday, Bana Alabed posted a sad farewell. She initially tweeted;
“The army got in, this could be our last days sincerely talking. No Internet. Please please please pray for us.- Fatemah #Aleppo”
Barely 30 minutes after that tweet, she shared a heart-rendering tweet that got her loyal followers from all over the world saddened. Bana Alabed tweeted;
“Last message – under heavy bombardments now, can’t be alive anymore. When we die, keep talking for 200,000 still inside. BYE.- Fatemah”
Fateemah and her 7-year-old daughter, Bana, had walked into worldwide conciousness just a few months ago when she started sharing heartbreaking posts of what life was like for children trapped within the constantly bombarded Aleppo.
Bana Alabed did resurface after the bombardment on Sunday but it was with more sad news. Hours after the goodbye tweet, Fatemah said that her home had been destroyed during a night of bombings. She then shared a photo of her dust-covered daughter, Bana, whose normal smiling countenance was missing as a look of bemusement and shock took the place of a smile.
The tweet which was signed by Bana read;
“Tonight we have no house, it’s bombed & I got in rubble. I saw deaths and I almost died. – Bana #Aleppo”
It is a sad change of situations from a Thursday tweet which saw Fatimah sharing a photo of Bana and her brothers, Mohammed, 5, and 3-year-old sister Noor reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and trying to find a moment of peace before the bombing started.
By the evening of that same day, the family was already mourning the death of a friend and his daughter who had been killed when a rocket struck nearby.
News like this puts a human face in front of statistics like those delivered in a United Nations report which showed that nearly a million Syrians are living under siege in Aleppo.
It helps us remember that these millions of Syrians are people or even children who like Bana Alabed wrote in a Direct Message to NBC news, want to “live” and have “peace return”.