The author of the Gay Girl in Damascus blog who was reportedly kidnapped by armed men last week, Amina Arraf has been revealed as the pseudonym of an American man
living holidaying in Istanbul, resident in Edinburgh.
I too am more relieved that a real Arraf is not actually caught up in the custody of a brutal regime than angry, but that’s easier for me than it might be for Syrian activists, I suspect. Now the regime is going to be able to cast everything MacMaster wrote about what was happening in Syria as pure fiction, when he insists that he wrote about real events, just in Amina’s voice. I find it utterly plausible that he merely meant to highlight those events in what he thought would be a more appealing persona that he never suspected would get so much international attention (even though attention for the oppression was the primary but perhaps ill-thought-through goal), but now MacMaster’s whole body of work is going to be suspect.
Also? Problematic cultural appropriation issues up the wazoo.
Addendum: I’ve now read some more about how deeply he has embedded profiles of Amina on the web and in doing so has directly deceived many people who thought they were dealing with a real person at considerable risk, not just readers of a pseudonymous blog being disappointed, but people being actively endangered. I no longer find his explanations at all convincing, they are merely superficially plausible if people don’t dig deeper.