'Gay Girl in Damascus' writer admits blog is fake

Chronicles of lesbian living in Damascus were in fact written by Istanbul man; writer apologies but says site exposed truths about Assad's regime.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
June 13, 2011 04:56
1 minute read.
Arraf photo actually of Londoner Jelena Lecic.

Arraf fake photo 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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"Gay Girl in Damascus," an incredibly popular blog purportedly authored by a lesbian woman living in Syria, has been revealed to be a hoax.

In an entry on the blog Sunday evening, the site's true author, Tom MacMaster, published an apology to his readers and admitted that he created the avatar of Amina Arraf to draw attention to the repressive actions of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

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In March, “A Gay Girl in Damascus” became an internet sensation after the popular uprising against the Assad regime broke out. This past week readers began to question the reality of the blog, after an entry on the site written by a woman purporting to be a cousin of Arraf’s, Rania O. Islam, read that the blogger was taken by three plainclothes Syrian state security officers and crammed into a car.

As her story began to garner more attention, reporters and readers began to ask questions about Arraf, and it emerged that no one could confirm having ever met her in person and the picture she had posted on her site is actually of a London woman who said the images were stolen from her Facebook page.

In his posting Sunday evening, MacMaster, who lists his location as Istanbul, Turkey, wrote, "While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not mısleading as to the situation on the ground."

He continued by writing, "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."

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The posting was signed,

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

The sole author of all posts on this blog."

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