A blog entitled ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’, which detailed the life of Amina Abdallah Araf al Omar, has been revealed to be a hoax and is actually the work of an American student at a university in Scotland.
The blog, which was started earlier this year and attracted over 2000 followers, included several posts, most claiming to be from a Syrian girl called Amina, one of the posts claimed to be from her cousin after ‘Amina’ had apparently been detained by the authorities in Syria. This has all since been found to be untrue and as the writer of the blog states “I am the sole author of this blog and have always been so. Any and all posts on the blog are by me.”
The hoax was exposed over the weekend and the writer of the blog, Tom MacMaster, yesterday issued a statement and apologised. MacMaster began the statement by saying:
“Before I say anything else, I want to apologize to anyone I may have hurt or harmed in any way. I never meant to hurt anyone. I am really truly sorry and I feel awful about this. Words alone do not suffice to express how badly I feel about all this. I betrayed the trust of a great many people, the friendship that was honestly and openly offered to me, and played with the emotions of others unfairly. I have distracted the world’s attention from important issues of real people in real places. I have potentially compromised the safety of real people. I have helped lend credence to the lies of the regimes. I am sorry.”
MacMaster went on to explain that the blog was started “innocently enough” and stated that he “didn’t mean to hurt the causes which I myself believe in”. His statement also details how one blog post went viral and how the story of Amina began to spiral out of control.
The blog captured international attention and a Facebook group called ‘Free Amina Abdalla Syrian Blogger' was set up. The administrators of the group have issued a statement which says they are “just as angry as everyone else over the revelation made by Tom MacMaster".
MacMaster posted the apology from Istanbul, Turkey, where he is currently on holiday.