[NOTE: Updating now that the Syrian government has cheerily started reporting on this: “MacMaster’s hoax aimed at enhancing continuous fabrications and lies against Syria in term of kidnapping bloggers and activists.”
MacMaster claims he is trying to “educate” others about the conditions in the Mideast. Yet he didn’t think of how the Syrian government could use his charade for their purposes if it was ever discovered? One really has to wonder if his motives were as pure as he’d like us to believe.]
I freely admit to being one of the many people around the world who was taken in by the hoax perpetrated by the blog “A Gay Girl In Damascus.” I applaud Ali Abunimah for his dogged efforts at exposing this sham, and thank him for doing so.
Any of you who have followed my bursts on Twitterabout this know I’m angry about it. Perhaps it’s because I hate being suckered. But I think the reasons are much deeper
Tom MacMaster, the charlatan who perpetrated this hoax, initially issued a very thin apology, where he blamed “liberal orientalism” for the controversy. He later posted a much more sincere and convincing apology.
OK, what more could he do? He can’t be expected to rake himself over hot coals or something. But we should still take a long, hard look at this and understand just why so many activists were angered at what he did.
The real-life Syrian activist Sami Hamwi sums it up nicely in his blistering attack on MacMaster: “I say shame on you!!! There are bloggers in Syria who are trying as hard as they can to report news and stories from the country…We have to deal with more difficulties than you can imagine. What you have done has harmed many, put us all in danger, and made us fearful about (pursuing) our…activism…Your apology is not accepted, since I have myself started to investigate Amina’s arrest. I could have put myself in a grave danger inquiring about a fictitious figure.”
Sami Hamwi himself uses a pseudonym to edit the web site GayMiddleEast.com. And I’m sure more than a few of you are now saying “How can we believe that Hamwi is a real person? If Amina was a hoax, why couldn’t Hamwi be as well?” Continue reading