On Sunday, a writer named Tom MacMaster confessed that he had fabricated the online persona of openly gay Syrian blogger Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari.
Last week, his blog captured international attention (including our blog), claiming that the fictional blogger had been abducted. According to SkyNews, MacMaster lives in the UK but wrote his apology from Istanbul, Turkey.
MacMaster wrote this “Apology to Readers” yesterday: “I never expected this level of attention. While the narrative voıce may have been fictional, the facts on thıs blog are true and not mısleading as to the situation on the ground. 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. I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in thıs year of revolutions. The events there are beıng shaped by the people living them on a daily basis. I have only tried to illuminate them for a western audience. This experience has sadly only confirmed my feelings regarding the often superficial coverage of the Middle East and the pervasiveness of new forms of liberal Orientalism.”
Here is the original story: “while her companion was still close by, Amina was seized by three men in their early 20’s. According to the witness (who does not want her identity known), the men were armed. Amina hit one of them and told the friend to go find her father. One of the men then put his hand over Amina’s mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad … The men are assumed to be members of one of the security services or the Baath Party militia. Amina’s present location is unknown and it is unclear if she is in a jail or being held elsewhere in Damascus.” (Link via, image via)
Editor’s Note: This post has been corrected to reflect MacMaster’s confession.