A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace
Dear World is written by an eight-year-old Syrian girl called Bana Alabed. Some of you may recognize her from the time when she was tweeting from her hometown of Aleppo, during the Syrian war crisis in 2016. Her tweets had gained international worldwide recognition as she was calling for peace and end to this global conflict.
Bana was only three years old when the civil war erupted and for the next four years, she was living a life full of horror. She had to lose her best friend, her school. her home and her homeland in one of the world’s humanitarian crises.
Interspersed with Bana’s words, are letters that her mother had written to Bana. (This part I didn’t really enjoy or find gripping, but perhaps mothers might identify with these words). However, what did grip me were Bana’s words, as she would describe her life crumbling around her. The way she describes the bombs dropping in on their city, creating a loud bang, is actually scary to read. In yet another incident, when her father hasn’t returned, the fear that grips the family is actually hard to read.
The unique thing about this book is that it offers a child’ perspective on the horrors of war. Children see the world through innocent, uncorrupted eyes, and Bana offers a unique insight into her life. We almost always identify with her courage and determination through her ordeals. and her call for an end to the war.
Her life gets worse, as she loses her best friend, her school and eventually her home. With nothing on their backs, they shift from one place to another for safety. She also has to look after her younger brother, who merely cannot comprehend what’s happening around him and his family.
Bana’s tweets gained a lot of followers, and I still remember how everyone would be hooked on to her words. To see the ground reality, as opposed to the mainstream media news channels, gave us all a truer picture of the effect the war has on families in Aleppo.
There are lots of colored pictures throughout the book, which helps the readers identifying with Bana and her family and offers an intimate glimpse into her life. Of course, Bana and her family successfully flee Syria to Turkey for safety, but her heart still belongs to Syria.
I fell in love with Syria when I went to Damascus in 2004. It was a city that captivated me and engulfed me with its culture, history, and people. Reading Bana’s words took me back to Syria many times, and all I could but do was p[ray for Syria that the people get the peace and the horrible conflict ends.