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The reported kidnap of a U.S. lesbian blogger in Syria has come into question after a woman in Britain claimed that photos being used to call for her release are actually her. Thousands of campaigners joined protest groups after media outlets across the world reported that Amina Arraf, a blogger known for her frank posts about her sexuality and her open criticism of President Bashar Assad had been detained.
Other questions have arisen over the identity of the blog's author. A London woman, Jelena Lecic, issued a statement saying that photographs that had been published and widely circulated as being of Araf were in fact of her. The Guardian removed a picture after it received a complaint from Lecic, replacing it with another image supplied directly to the paper last month by the blog's author. That picture has also been removed following a second complaint from Lecic, pending an investigation.
According to Ismail, Arraf was last seen on Monday being bundled into a car by three men in civilian clothes as she was on her way to meet someone at the activist Local Coordination Committees. Ismail said a friend accompanying her was nearby and saw what happened. The activist with the Local Coordination Committees, a group which helps document the protests calling for an end to the Assad regime, had confirmed to the AP yesterday that Arraf was taken. The activist spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing retribution from the regime. Today, the same activist said the group had "no independent confirmation" and had reported it based on the cousin's blog entry, and from two people who claimed to be friends but who also got the information from the blog. "As far as we know, nobody's emerged who has actually met her," the activist said.
'Gay Girl In Damascus' Turns Out To Be An American Man
As soon as "Free Amina" groups popped up on Facebook and the State Department began looking for her, the story began to seem a lot like fiction. No one had ever talked to Amina. The Guardian published a profile of her June 7 that included a picture they soon found out wasn't Amina but of a Londoner called Jelena Lecic. The biographical details in her blog posts did not check out. Amina Arraf couldn't be found in any public records in Georgia or Virginia and the names of her father and mother also turned up nothing.
Today, the Gay Girl In Damascus blog ended the mystery, posting an apology that revealed Amina was in fact the work of Tom MacMaster, an American from Georgia whose university records show is in a medieval studies graduate program at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
On the blog, he wrote:
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 couldnt agree more...thank you
Originally posted by Dnevnoi
reply to post by JacKatMtn
A good example of why you should never trust something written on the internet unless you can get a definite answer on whether or not the author exists.
That rules about 97% of websites the members of this site use,
How a straight guy in Edinburgh seduced us with 'A Gay Girl in Damascus' Until Monday, ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ was one of Syria’s most popular English-speaking bloggers, a 35-year-old lesbian activist in fear of the regime. Today, she’s a 40-year-old American man, a certain Tom MacMaster, based in Scotland. Duped? We were.