@Alabedbana: Twitter, the child, and the war diary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

On 3 October 2016 The Guardian ran a story titled, ‘“I need peace”: Seven-Year-Old Bana Tweets Her Life in Besieged Aleppo’. @AlabedBana’s Twitter feed recounts Bana’s everyday experiences in Aleppo. The posts emphasise a child’s-eye perspective: simple language and pleas for peace amid violence and trauma. Sometimes her mother tweets from the account and signs off with her name. After The Guardian’s story Bana’s Twitter followers grew by tens of thousands. I encountered this article through The Guardian’s Facebook page and amongst the many engaged and supportive comments was a smaller selection of comments that doubted the veracity of the Twitter account (suggesting manipulation, or worse propaganda). Further, a series of fake, troll accounts emerged to spoof al-Abed– again doubting the possibility that a seven-year-old could author such a narrative. This article considers the new variables, complexities, and mediations that new media diaries bring to a discussion of childhood diaries by considering the circulation and reception of @AlabedBana’s Twitter. How might Twitter ‘work’ as a diary mode for representing trauma, particularly childhood experiences of war and conflict? What issues might @AlabedBana’s Twitter diary raise for scholars thinking about the trajectories of global life narratives emerging from new media diary modes?.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1039
Number of pages20
JournalTEXTUAL PRACTICE
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Bana al-Abed
  • Twitter
  • diary
  • childhood
  • life narrative

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