Gay Girl In Damascus Blog A Hoax, Actually Penned By American Man In Scotland

Last week, we told you about the mysterious disappearance of Amina Abdallah, 35, a lesbian woman in Syria who penned the blog Gay Girl in Damascus. As Jessica initially wrote in that post, according to a post written by her cousin, on June 6, three men pulled up in a car and grabbed Abdallah. In a followup post, her cousin simply said she is “missing.” Shortly after word of her disappearance spread on the internet, along with various photos of Abdallah, a woman named Jelena Lecic, from the UK, came forward and said that the photos were actually of her. (The photo at left is Lecic and is one of the photos used to represent Abdallah on the internet.) This caused many to question not only the legitimacy of Abdallah’s disappearance, but also her existence as well.

And, as it turns out, those hunches were right. There is no Amina Abdallah. This weekend, Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old American student at the University of Edinburgh (above), came forward and said he is actually the person behind the Gay Girl in Damascus blog. In a blog posted on June 12, MacMaster wrote:

I never expected this level of attention. While the narrative voıce may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading 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 thıs year of revolutions. The events there are beıng 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.

Mmm-kay. Gay rights activists aren’t buying MacMaster’s higher purpose excuse, saying his fake abduction story harmed their cause and endangered lives. “Your apology is not accepted, since I have myself started to investigate Amina’s arrest,” an editor for wrote in response. “I could have put myself in a grave danger inquiring about a fictitious figure.”

MacMaster, meanwhile, told the BBC Scotland that while the blog entries written under Amina’s name were fictional, the facts behind the stories were true. “So I invented a name to talk under that would keep the focus on the actual issue,” he said.

What do you think of this story? Are you buying MacMaster’s excuses or do you think he’s spouting BS in the wake of getting caught?

[Telegraph UK]

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