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Bana Alabed, seven-year-old Syrian peace campaigner, to publish memoir

Bana came to prominence in September 2016 after she began tweeting descriptions of her experiences of siege in Aleppo.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2017 15:21 IST
The Guardian
The Guardian
Syria,Bana Alabed,Aleppo
Bana received the ebook editions of Harry Potter from JK Rowling after she complained she could not get hold of its physical copies.(via Twitter)

A seven-year-old Syrian refugee whose tweets from war-torn Aleppo won her a global following is set to write a book. Bana Alabed’s Dear World will recount her experiences in Syria and how she and her family rebuilt their lives as refugees.

The self-declared peace activist took to the social media network that made her name to announce the news. “I am happy to announce my book will be published by Simon & Schuster. The world must end all the wars now in every part of the world,” she tweeted to her 368,000 followers.

In a statement issued through her publisher, Bana added: “I hope my book will make the world do something for the children and people of Syria and bring peace to children all over the world who are living in war.”

Bana came to prominence in September 2016 after she began tweeting descriptions of her experiences of siege in the Syrian city. Documenting the impact of hunger, airstrikes and civil war, she caught the imagination of followers with her longing for a peaceful childhood and fear for the safety of herself and her family.

A Harry Potter fan, she received the ebook editions directly from JK Rowling after complaining that she could not get hold of physical copies of the books last November. In December, Rowling took part in a Twitter campaign #WhereisBana to put pressure on authorities to find the Alabed family after Bana’s online presence briefly went dark in December. It was later revealed that the family was being evacuated from Aleppo .

Bana has also used the account to plead for peace to Russian President Vladimir Putin, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, former US President Barack Obama and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. At the end of the year, her family were allowed into Turkey, where they met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and were given permission to remain.

Likening her to Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who was given refugee status in the UK after being shot in a horrific attack, S&S senior editor Christine Pride said: “Bana’s experiences and message transcend the headlines, and pierce through the political noise and debates, to remind us of the human cost of war and displacement.” The publisher will also launch a young readers’ edition under its Salaam Reads imprint.

First Published: Apr 14, 2017 15:21 IST