Gaza teen's war tweets make her a social media sensation 0
Farah Baker, 16, uses her phone to tweet in her family's home in Gaza City, Aug. 10, 2014. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
GAZA - As bombs explode in Gaza, Palestinian teenager Farah Baker grabs her smartphone or laptop before ducking for cover to tap out tweets that capture the drama of the tumult and fear around her.
The 16-year-old's prolific posts on Twitter have made her a social media sensation through the month-old conflict. Once a little known high school athlete, Baker's following on the website has jumped from a mere 800 to a whopping 166,000.
Living near Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, where her father is a surgeon, provides Baker with a live feed of blaring ambulance sirens in addition to blasts from Israeli air strikes and shelling attacks.
Baker often records these and posts video clips to provide followers with a quick personal glimpse of the war.
A tweet from Aug. 1 included a link to a video of a darkened street punctuated by the sounds of repeated explosions.
In another tweet Baker tells of hiding from the shelling in one of the rooms of her home.
"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, adding that she has been "trying to make other people feel as if they are experiencing it, too".
Baker, whose Twitter profile photo shows a blue-eyed frightened looking young woman calling herself "Guess what", or @Farah_Gazan, said she's surprised at the popularity she has garnered.
"I did not expect it. I was writing for a small circle of people, and the number has become too many," she said.
Baker dreams of becoming a lawyer, hoping to use that profession as a means to advocate for crowded and impoverished Gaza, a coastal territory wedged between Israel and Egypt.
It isn't always easy to overcome her fears to tweet, but she feels compelled to go on.
"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," Baker said.
Here is a selection of some of her more recent tweets:
I woke up today without drones, f16s, ambulances, blasts sounds, so I smiled from the deep of my heart #Gaza 😊— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) August 11, 2014
We heard that there will be a ceasefire for 72hrs, so we became glad and in the end we discovered that that's a rumor #GazaUnderAttack— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) August 10, 2014
Many airstrikes now 1:06am #GazaUnderAttack— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) August 9, 2014
Another bomb not too far from my home #GazaUnderAttack— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) August 9, 2014
Massive bomb now #GazaUnderAttack— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) August 9, 2014
Oh I can hear gunshots now #GazaUnderAttack— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) August 9, 2014
I'm 16yrs old and I could never travel easily, and I could never visit other parts of my land -Palestine- #GazaUnderAttack— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) August 7, 2014
pellets found in my friend's Agricultural Land, her dad found them have passed through th walls#GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/ZtioOxeq0r— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) August 5, 2014