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Bana Alabed

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 04: Bana Alabed attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 04: Bana Alabed attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The power of one and the child face of war now recognized at the Academy Awards.

Bana Alabed, an 8-year-old Syrian girl, first captured the world’s attention with heartbreaking tweets about the bombing in Aleppo.

On Sunday, far from the war-torn landscape in her native country, Bana took center stage on Hollywood’s biggest night.

“I was really excited and happy,” Bana told CNN’s Isha Sesay about walking the red carpet.

During the live ceremony, Andra Day and Common featured Bana and other global change-makers during their performance of the Oscar-nominated song “Stand Up For Something.”

That message of activism is stamped in Bana’s DNA.

She deflected the spotlight of the moment onto those suffering in conflict zones, tweeting from Hollywood: “Dear Oscars, tonight we must stand up for the children who are dying in Syria. A child is a child whether in America or Syria.”

Bana Oscars Tweet

During the two weeks leading up the Academy Awards, 770 civilians died in Eastern Ghouta. Bana told CNN, “Are you happy when you see children suffering?

“Children are always suffering — everywhere. A child is a child who needs to go to school and to play in peace.”

She talked about her days in Aleppo. “It was really hard. A lot of people and children were dying. Some children lost their parents. I hope we stop it and we all will live in peace.”

Terror reigned down on her night after night in Aleppo. She told Sesay that the scariest moment was when her best friend, Jasmine, died. “When she died, I looked at her and cried. I told God at night, ‘Please, I don’t want any of my family to die.'”

bana rubble

A terrible ordeal that she no doubt relives in her mind. Yet, Bana wants to return to Syria. “I hope we can all go back there and build our houses again and live in peace.

“I miss my friends. I miss my country. And, also, I like to play outside in my garden. I hope we can go back.”

Bana is not able to communicate with the friends and family that she left behind. She often wonders how they are doing.

The Alabed family escaped to Turkey where they were given citizenship. Since then, Bana has continued to tweet — asking world leaders to help the children of Syria.

She also wrote a book, “Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and a Plea For Peace” and was featured in the documentary, “Cries From Syria.”

bana sign

Bana has communicated with Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai. She calls her “Friend.” The two share a similar space of activism and Bana is keenly aware of the hope and promise attached to her young voice.

She’s comfortable in her own potential. “I want to talk about the children and help them,” Bana told CNN.

“It’s hard to live in war,” she said. “It’s difficult because there is no water or food and always bombing, bombing, bombing. You can’t sleep. Sometimes people hurt. There is no medicine” and, often, hospitals are targeted in war.

Bana’s message to world leaders, “You are just watching. Children are dying. We should all stand together and I hope we can help children around the world so that (they) can live in peace.”

Written & Produced by: Ben Bamsey for “CNN Newsroom L.A.” with help from Alexandra Meeks and Isha Sesay

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