[ Ed. note – The book Dear World was published last month by Simon and Schuster–or “Simon and Shyster” as the author of the review below refers to them–purporting to tell the story of a courageous young girl and her “heartrending” tweets from war-torn Syria.
The girl in question is Bana Alabed, who apparently doesn’t speak English very fluently and who is only eight years old, but who nonetheless is being marketed as the “author” of the book.
That the fanfare surrounding this child is nothing more than a well-orchestrated propaganda exercise has been obvious from the start–at least to me anyway. But one of the more intriguing aspects here is the extent to which J.K. Rowling has jumped on this bandwagon.
Rowling is one of the world’s top selling authors, whose Harry Potter books have been made into Hollywood movies, and she is currently ranked as the “197th richest person” in the UK–with a personal fortune reputed to be in the neighborhood of £600 million, and with more than 30 books to her credit. Quite obviously she is a smart woman. Was she really taken in by what in essence is a hoax aimed at facilitating regime change in Syria? Has she really swallowed the mainstream media hype about the “evil Assad”? Or did she lend her name to what some have referred to as the “Bana Project” for other reasons? I don’t have the answer to these questions, but interested readers might want to check out an article posted by Barbara McKenzie on this subject.
Entitled “JK Rowling and the Bana Fraud,” the article includes a discussion of Rowling’s literary agent, Neil Blair, with McKenzie asserting that the latter has close ties to Israel. This probably should come as no major surprise given Rowling’s support for the anti-BDS movement and which is discussed more fully in an article published a couple of years ago at Mondoweiss.
As for the piece below–well, I would describe it as part book review and part tour de force aimed at exploding the myth of a family of innocent victims caught up in the horrors of war. The author, Judith Tanner, takes to task not only Bana’s parents, who she accuses of terrorist affiliations (the child’s father, Ghassan Alabed, she alleges, served as a sharia judge during the terrorist occupation of Aleppo), but even the editor at Simon and Schuster who helped give birth to the book.
“Like the tweets, this book was obviously written by adults and a child’s memories and imaginations of reality are exploited by those wanting regime change in Syria,” she writes–and she also refers to the book as “a case study in child indoctrination.”
Accompanying the article are several videos, including an interview with the uncle of Bana’s mother that was conducted in July of this year by Vanessa Beeley and Khaled Iskef, an independent Syrian journalist. All in all it’s an interesting piece–interesting not only as a book review but as an analysis of war propaganda. ]
By Judith Tanner
With its dedication to every child suffering in war and quote from Anne Frank “ where there’s hope there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again”, this book from the girl whose tweets asked Donald Trump to start World War Three, is presented to the reader as the faithful account of a courageous and innocent child about her family’s suffering through the siege of Aleppo, Syria.
Presenting anyone with a child’s alleged testimony engenders immediate sympathy and a sense of moral outrage and indignation at what war does to children. Despite this, Bana’s book fails to meet the brief for anyone with any passing understanding of the war in Syria. As the “moderate” FSA (Free Syrian Army) and other terror groups continue to pound ordinary civilians inside Syria with US coalition-supplied weapons and missiles, it is extremely difficult to feel anything but contempt for this egregious example of propaganda or for the Bana project in its entirety.
Bana Alabed may only now be eight years old- we see her blowing out candles on her birthday cake at the end of the book – but she is also the daughter of criminals who, despite denials and claims of being innocent bystanders, were intimately connected with Al Nusra Front and affiliates in East Aleppo and lived in an apartment next door to Al Nusra headquarters.