Syrian Lesbian Blogger Is An American Man
Amina Arraf, Syrian Lesbian Blogger, Is A Man, And So Is Lesbian Activist Paula Brooks
OK, I admit it. I was suckered. I believed that the out-spoken Syrian lesbian blogger, Amina Arraf, had been abducted by Bashar Al-Asad’s bully boys, and I followed the news hoping to hear of her release. To find out this morning that not only was she not abducted, but that she is in actuality a forty-year old American man from Georgia, who now studies in Scotland (i.e. no where close to the Damascus location from which Arraf was allegedly abducted), was just a bit too much.
But wait, there’s more. The person partly responsible for unmasking Tom MacMaster, as the hoaxer behind the much-publicized Amina, was Paula Brooks of the gay rights website Lez Get Real. It now turns out that Brooks is also a man, Bill Graber, a 58-year old retired US Air Force member. Seriously, I’m not making this stuff up.
Men As Lesbians
So is this some kind of trend? How many men of a certain age are online pretending to be lesbians? Are spotty teenage boys fantasizing about their dads without realizing it? How many men are setting up dubious online relationships with other men, in the hope that both will find Sapphic love? And what am I missing out on? Will the next spam email I receive be telling me that the latest way to make thousands of dollars a day in my pyjamas is to queer my pitch?
While the internet is wide open to lies (just check out any dating site to see all the men seeking ‘discreet’ relationships that their wives are “okay” with), it also has a tremendous potential to make the world a better place. A man pretending to be a lesbian woman seems a strange way to do anything, beyond getting some sort of vicarious thrill. Both of the American lesbian impersonators at the heart of this piece claim to have been working with the best of intentions. It would seem that the road to hell is not the only path paved with those. Troubled sexuality also lies ahead.
Tyranny Is No Laughing Matter
Of course, there’s a serious side to this. Al-Assad, like his father before him, is a tyrant. A murderous torturer who cares nothing for the human rights of his people. He’s a strong supporter of terrorism both internationally and against his own Syrians. So how did MacMaster think that he could help the people of Syria by telling lies? Haven’t the poor and oppressed of the world been lied to and lied about enough? Did MacMaster really think that more lies was what they needed? That’s right up there with having unprotected sex as a way to stop AIDS.
What has been special about the Arab Spring uprisings is that the ordinary people have finally found a voice for themselves. They have done so through blogging and social media. For MacMaster to presume to speak for them smacks of contempt for the very people he says he cares about. To abuse their only method of telling the stories about the hardships they face, is akin to cutting off their air supply. I am sure that any future bloggers from oppressed countries will now face the charge of being “foreign (read U.S.) agents /provocateurs.” Nice one, Tom. As if these courageous bloggers didn’t already have a hard enough time writing about oppression, they will now also have to fear every knock at their doors.