'Modern Anne Frank' documents her family's struggle in Gaza… on Twitter
"I miss the sea, I miss my friends, I miss ice cream, I miss happiness and joy. I MISS MY ORDINARY LIFE."
Tweets like this one from 16-year-old Palestinian teen Farah Baker, a self-described "modern Anne Frank," have launched her into Twitter prominence as she captures the fear and violence in her Gaza town.
Baker, who lives with her parents and two sisters in Gaza and goes by the Twitter handle @Farah_Gazan, went viral last week after a month of documenting her family's experience living in the war zone. Her followers leapt from 800 to 167,000 in the last few days of the conflict.
"I am trying to tell the world about what I feel and what is happening where I live," Baker told Reuters at her Gaza home. She said that she is "trying to make other people feel as if they are experiencing it, too."
One striking image from the feed is the profile photo of Baker herself, which shows the worried face of a girl whose blue eyes are wide with anxiety. "I see this is the only way I can help Gaza, showing what is happening here. Sometimes I tweet while am crying or too scared, but I tell myself I should not stop."
Live-tweeting the conflict between Hamas and Israel reveals a family life of fear, running for cover, and a longing for peace as everyday activities grind to a halt.
Baker's father works as a surgeon at the nearby Shifa hospital, and her videos are punctuated with the whine of sirens and the blasts of incoming airstrikes and bombs going off. Sometimes, Baker says, she taps out tweets while ducking for cover in her home.
"The war is back but calm, I mean I could hear only few bombs since 8am #GazaUnderAttack," read one tweet from Aug. 8.
"A child martyred and many wounded bc of bombing a mosque #GazaUnderAttack,"read another.
"Many airstrikes now 1:06am," read a quick dispatch from Aug. 9.
Baker's followers have also started a question-and-answer dialogue with the teen, posing questions such as, "How do you stay calm? Are you hopeful for peace in the future? Why are you still in Gaza if you know that it is dangerous to be there right now?" according to dnaIndia news. The hashtag #AskFarah also started trending on Twitter.
A Sky News Google Hangout interview put Baker into conversation with a teacher, Adele Raemer, who lives just two kilometers away from Gaza across the Israeli border.
The two, who have both lived through three wars and live just miles away from each other, spoke face to face over the Internet and expressed their sadness and the turmoil of "constantly dodging rockets."
Speaking from her bomb shelter after Hamas rocket fire into Israel resumed, Raemer said that she has seen the images coming over from Gaza, and they are "horrifying." "We are pining for peace," she said.
"I absolutely dream of living peacefully," said Baker, who said that it's hard to imagine her future when she knows that she could die at any time.
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