'Gay Girl in Damascus' Flap Was Hoax

Monday, 13 Jun 2011 11:03 AM

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The “Gay Girl in Damascus” blog turns out to have been written by a married man from Georgia. The blog had recently created a stir with posts about the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters and then international concern with reports the author, Amina Arraf, a half Syrian and half American lesbian, had been arrested by government agents, The Washington Post reported.

While the U.S. State Department began an investigation of the woman’s disappearance, fears of a hoax began as it was revealed that Amina’s photograph on the blog had been lifted from a London woman’s Facebook page and no one could actually say they met the woman. Using various clues the blogger left behind, the Post tracked the blog to Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old American man.

lesbian damascus hoaxMacMaster, a Middle East peace activist now working on a master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, created the fictitious character to bring attention to the human rights record of Syria. When contacted by the Post MacMaster initially denied the hoax in exchanges over a three-day period before coming clean and apologizing on the blog.

“While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on thıs blog are true and not mısleading 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,” he wrote according to the Post.



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