There is little doubt that most people reading this blog will have heard of the A Gay Girl in Damascus blog. Certainly if they hadn’t and then stumbled upon this blog post from last week claiming the blogger had been taken by Syrian authorities then they would have felt for her and that this is just another example of everything that is wrong with Syria and other countries in the Middle East.
The only problem is this character didn’t exist. She was a figment of a 40 year-old American’s imagination.
The NY Times has an excellent summary of the events if anyone wants in depth coverage of this story but the question now is how do we all feel after been taken in by this deception and does highlighting the struggle albeit in an misleading way do either damage or promote the issues of homosexuals in Middle Eastern countries?
I can’t answer the latter question as I quite simply do not know and how I feel about it really doesn’t matter too much. It just seems sad that the story wasn’t true and people’s genuine affection towards someone they did not know was all a lie. There is no doubt people in these places who face the troubles that author Tom MacMaster portrayed Amina Abdallah Arraf as having but when it isn’t strictly accurate then it is hard to know what to think.
I sit here typing and am to be frank – torn. It has highlighted the issue worldwide but whether that sentiment will go away now it has been proven as a fraud I don’t know. Only time will tell. But the struggles of gay people in these cultures is something that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet – that is something that I do know for sure.
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