Bana al-Abed [Image: The New Statesman].

Bana al-Abed [Image: The New Statesman].


Why has The New Statesman not pointed out the obvious – that seven-year-old Aleppo Twitter user Bana al-Abed isn’t being attacked by trolls; she is being undermined by propagandists.

One of the so-called trolls has highlighted how strange it is that, in a besieged city, with electricity down, she manages to get her messags onto Twitter – and in perfect English.

Is that a valid point? I don’t know because I don’t know how well the Aleppo grid is performing at the moment and I don’t know Bana well enough to judge her command of English. Who, here, does?

All we can say for sure is that this situation highlights the propaganda war in Syria.

When This Blog published an article about the situation in Aleppo earlier this week, I received many comments from people who said the news reports we receive in the mainstream media simply aren’t reliable.

As one commenter put it, “The reporting from Aleppo has been so skewed and fixed on the story of Assad as evil and Putin his sidekick perpetrator of evil that to get any reporting showing a modicum of objective reporting is in the realms of La La land.”

Several commenters suggested other websites that could provide – if not accurate information, then at least the best information possible to allow readers to form their own conclusions.

Those sites are: Future Fast Forward (Mathias Chang), Voltairenet.org (Thierry Meyssan), The 4th media (Yoichi Shimatsu), Media Lens, Off Guardian, Global Research, Counter Punch, and Paul Craig Roberts. I’m told there are many more.

I cannot vouch for any of these sites, but I list them so you can peruse them at your leisure.

Since Bana al-Abed shot to fame for tweeting about life under Syria’s bombs, fake accounts have sprung up imitating the child.

It’s been a few days since seven-year-old Bana al-Abed became the world’s unlikeliest social media star. With the help of her mother Fatemah, Bana has been tweeting messages from Aleppo, documenting her life in the besieged city. On 24 September, Bana had 4,000 Twitter followers. Since her story was covered in a handful of Britain’s national newspapers this week, she now has nearly 60,000.

Through her tweets, Bana has described a world where children go to bed praying they will wake up the next morning, where you lose friends not because of a playground fight, but because they have been crushed to death in a barrel bomb attack, and where a perfect day would just be going to school.

But just because Bana isn’t your usual liquid-lipstick-haul brand of internet famous doesn’t mean she isn’t subjected to the same treatment as more traditional social media stars. Like many prominent people who use the site, Bana has been targeted by fake, mock profiles imitating her account. Because she doesn’t have a blue tick – Twitter’s badge of verification that proves someone is who they say they are – there is potential that these fake accounts will be mistaken for her.

Two of these accounts seem to have that aim in mind. One – that Bana herself has tweeted about– has a single tweet, “Dear world help us”, that has been shared 60 times. Others, however, are far more malicious, and seem to be acting on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s belief – that he voiced to Danish TV2 correspondent Rasmus Tantholdt–that Bana is a “terrorist”.

Source: Trolls are mocking a seven year old girl tweeting from besieged Aleppo

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