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“A Gay Girl in Damascus? Was Written By A Married Guy In Edinburgh

40 year-old Tom MacMaster, of Istanbul, Turkey, is the author behind “A Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog. This proves that detained Lesbian blogger from Syria turns out to be a hoax. ?

The Washigton Post reports:

In recent days, the world has followed closely the saga of Amina Araff, the blogger who presented herself online as ?A Gay Girl in Damascus? and who drew attention with her passionate writings about the Syrian government?s crackdown on Arab Spring protesters. Those writings stopped last Tuesday, and a posting to the blog, ostensibly written by a cousin, said she had been hauled away by government security agents.

News of her disappearance became an Internet and media sensation. The U.S. State Department started an investigation. But almost immediately skeptics began asking: Has anyone ever actually met Amina? Two days after her disappearance, images presented on her blog as being of Amina were revealed to have been taken from the Facebook page of a London woman.

And on Sunday, the truth spilled out: The gay girl in Damascus confessed to being a 40-year-old American man from Georgia.

The persona he built and cultivated for years ? a lesbian who was half Syrian and half American ? was a tantalizing Internet-era fiction, one that Tom MacMaster used to bring attention to the human rights record of a country with severe media restrictions that make traditional reporting almost impossible.

This is MacMaster confession on the blog:

I never expected this level of attention. While the narrative vo?ce may have been fictional, the facts on th?s blog are true and not m?sleading as to the situation on the ground. I do not believe that I have harmed anyone — I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about.

I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in th?s year of revolutions. The events there are be?ng shaped by the people living them on a daily basis. I have only tried to illuminate them for a western audience.

This experience has sadly only confirmed my feelings regarding the often superficial coverage of the Middle East and the pervasiveness of new forms of liberal Orientalism.

However, I have been deeply touched by the reactions of readers.

Best,
Tom MacMaster,
Istanbul, Turkey
July 12, 2011

The sole author of all posts on this blog

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