Bana Alabed, a 7-year-old Twitter star from Aleppo, has struck a deal with American publishing company Simon & Schuster to print her book, Dear World, in autumn 2017.
"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," Alabed's Twitter account says.
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. pic.twitter.com/OPJ1tpl5MI— Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) 12 апреля 2017 г.
"Bana Alabed, the Syrian girl who became the face of Aleppo through a Twitter account run by her mother, has landed a book deal," Time magazine confirmed Wednesday adding that Alabed's account "has more than 360,000 followers and frequently features pleas to the world to intervene in the ongoing conflict."
While it is obvious that the 7-year old could hardly cope with writing memoir herself, the book promises to be a commercial success.
However, in contrast to Anne Frank, Bana's story is surrounded by controversy.
In December 2016 Syrian activist Maytham Al Ashkar shared his concerns regarding the authenticity of Bana Alabed's account with Sputnik.
On November 27 Maytham got in touch with someone who identified herself as Bana's mother.
"What happened after, convinced me that Bana's account is the ultimate propaganda stunt," the Syrian activist told Sputnik.
Maytham proposed Bana and her family arranging their urgent evacuation from Aleppo to any destination of their choice even out of Syria. Surprisingly, a person who ran Bana's Twitter account declined the offer.
"When I got contacted by Bana's account, I started to chat in Arabic since we are all Syrians and Arabic is our mother tongue. However, it was obvious that the person behind the account preferred English as a language of communication," Maytham noted.
"There is no such a thing as Bana's tweets. The girl is just a face, a tool," the Syrian activist told Sputnik.
However, that's half the story.
One of the Facebook users pointed out that although those who run Bana Alabed's Twitter account wrote in plain English that her father was killed, the December photo depicting Bana and her family with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proved otherwise.
The authenticity of the Syrian girl's Twitter account has also stirred a heated debate. Bana's account, designated by Twitter as "verified," had gathered over 310,000 followers in just three months.
Observers argue that it is unclear who is really behind Bana's numerous posts since anyone who has the password can write from the account.
Meanwhile, Bana continues tweeting, this time from Turkey.
"More than 100 people were just killed in #Idlib. Get up, come out, demand justice for the people of Syria wherever you are. Justice. Justice," a Twitter user behind Bana Alabed's account wrote April 4, following the suspected use of chemical weapons in Idlib.
More than 100 people were just killed in #Idlib.Get up, come out, demand justice for the people of Syria wherever you are. Justice. justice.— Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) 4 апреля 2017 г.
However, by saying "justice" the Twitter user doesn't mean conducting a scrupulous investigation into what really happened in the Syrian town.
"I am a Syrian child who suffered under Bashar al-Asad & Putin. I welcome Donald Trump action against the killers of my people," the Twitter user wrote April 7, when US President Donald Trump authorized the US missile strike against Sheyrat airfield, used by the Syrian Arab Army to launch attacks against Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorists.
I am a Syrian child who suffered under Bashar al Asad & Putin. I welcome Donald Trump action against the killers of my people.— Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) 7 апреля 2017 г.
"Putin and Bashar al-Asad bombed my school, killed my friends & robbed my childhood. It's time to punish the killers of children in Syria," the Twitter account claimed.
Putin and Bashar al Asad bombed my school, killed my friends & robbed my childhood. It's time to punish the killers of children in Syria.— Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) 7 апреля 2017 г.
Who cares about evidence?
One can assume that "Bana's memoirs" will be followed by a documentary or a movie. And probably it will scoop up an Oscar just like the Netflix film "White Helmets," which somehow shied away from disclosing the so-called "humanitarian" group's ties with Islamic extremists.
It appears that the war in Syria has turned into a propaganda and lucrative commercial project for those who capitalize on people's compassion.
Empathizing with fictional characters on a screen a multi-million-strong audience won't be embarrassed by the fact that the story bears no relation with reality.