"Kidnapped" Blogger "Gay Girl in Damascus" Not Gay; Not a Girl; Not in Damascus

Last week, I received a bunch of emails about a Syrian lesbian blogger who had reportedly been kidnapped. I did not write about it, because I just had this inexplicable feeling that it was bullshit. And so it was: 35-year-old Syrian lesbian Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari, the purported author of the blog "Gay Girl in Damascus," is actually 40-year-old white American married straight dude Tom MacMaster, currently studying at Edinburgh University.

Despite MacMaster's assertion "I do not believe that I have harmed anyone", activists were furious. Sami Hamwi, the pseudonym for the Damascus editor of GayMiddleEast.com, wrote: "To Mr MacMaster, I say shame on you!!! There are bloggers in Syria who are trying as hard as they can to report news and stories from the country. We have to deal with too many difficulties than you can imagine. What you have done has harmed many, put us all in danger, and made us worry about our LGBT activism. Add to that, that it might have caused doubts about the authenticity of our blogs, stories, and us.

"Your apology is not accepted, since I have myself started to investigate Amina's arrest. I could have put myself in a grave danger inquiring about a fictitious figure. Really … Shame on you!!!"

"What a waste of time when we are trying so hard to get news out of Syria," another Damascus activist told the Guardian.

"Amina" had also agreed to meet several journalists at different points, reneging at the last minute, even as journalists had already traveled to meet at some risk to their own personal security. No doubt considerable resources were also spent by the US embassy in Syria trying to establish the alleged US citizenship of a missing woman who does not exist.

What a complete jackass.

Needless to say, MacMaster has not just betrayed and imperiled actual Syrian bloggers and actual LGBTQI activists, who need anonymity for reasons other than the fact that they're masquerading, attention-seeking dipfucks, but has once again given mainstream media organizations reason to distrust new media writers. Thanks a shitload, buddy.

The Washington Post has more on the story here.

 

Shakesville / By Melissa McEwan | Sourced from

Posted at June 13, 2011, 4:21am

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