A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Could the Amina Story Be Some Sort of Hoax?

The reported abduction of "Gay Girl in Damascus" blogger Amina Abdullah Arraf has provoked concern and outrage around the world, including on this blog, but today the story took an unexpected term with some Internet speculation that Amina might not even exist. NPR's  Andy Carvin lays out the evidence and cautiously comes down on the side of her really existing; Robert Mackey at the NYT's The Lede also reviews the question.

I think it goes without saying that certain of the questions, such as her use of a picture that is apparently of someone else, can be explained as self-protection; her blog certainly seemed convincing and had built up a following. Perhaps I've spent too much time in the region, but my first thought when I saw these stories was that the Syrian government would very much like us to believe that she doesn't exist, which makes me suspicious about the speculation. Perhaps she camouflaged her identity for obvious protective reasons. Of course, I could be wrong, but if her blog was a hoax  it was a convincing one. I'm not convinced she's not real, but may be proven wrong of course.

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