`Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog a hoax
London: Rights campaigners reacted furiously after a US student based in Scotland unmasked himself as the author of the "Gay Girl in Damascus" blogs, which charted the security crackdown in Syria.
Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old Edinburgh University masters student, admitted on Sunday that he was "Amina Abdullah", who had described "herself" as a Syrian political blogger.
The Abdullah character rose to fame with her reports on the pro-reform movement, posting as "an out Syrian lesbian`s thoughts on life, the universe and so on".
Then last Tuesday someone claiming to be her cousin wrote on the website that Abdullah had been snatched off the street by three armed men and bundled into a car bearing a pro-government window sticker.
The report sparked a wave of alarm among her online followers. Supporters even set up a "Free Amina Abdullah" group on the social networking site Facebook, attracting nearly 15,000 followers.
MacMaster finally came clean in a posting on his blog Sunday, after doubts began to emerge as to whether Abdullah really was for real. He admitted that he was the sole author of the posts.
"I never expected this level of attention," MacMaster wrote in an "Apology to readers" posted on the blog.
"While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading 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," MacMaster added.
"I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in this year of revolutions."
The Guardian newspaper said that in recent days, bloggers had uncovered evidence that pointed towards MacMaster and his wife Britta Froelicher.
MacMaster is a Middle East activist, while his wife is studying at Scotland`s St Andrews University for a doctorate in Syrian economic development.
In his apology, MacMaster said he had been touched by the reaction of readers.
But the revelation of the hoax has sparked fury among some former followers of the blog, particularly those who had been campaigning for Abdullah`s release.
"This just makes me so angry," said one comment on the Facebook group set up to press for her release.
"The situation in Syria is too dire for this sort of gameplaying!"
"Time and effort was taken away from other vitally important news stories happening in Syria," another contributor protested.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Zee Media exclusive chat with 'Welcome to Karachi' cast
- Reservation issue: Police register case against Bainsla, 20 others
- Zee Media exclusive interview with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar
- UP Minister allegedly threatens, abuses Gonda businessman
- Manali: Heavy corruption found in environmental taxes
- UP: Jammu-bound Muri Express derails in Kaushambi
- Five unmanned parachutes spotted over Mumbai airport
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 24, 2015
- Watch: Fast N Facts @ 7:30pm
- Dawood's intercepted phone calls prove yet again he is in Pakistan
- One year of Modi govt: How satisfied is the common man?
- Jaipur girl Mini Rajpal wins Miss India Deaf 2015!
- CBSE Board Class 12th Exam Results 2015 declared
- Mumbai architecture creates double decker bus from scrap!
- One year of Modi govt: How satisfied is the common man? Part-2
- IPL 2015 Final: MI vs CSK - As it happened...
- CBSE.nic.in 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board (cbseresults.nic.in) Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 to be announced on May 25
- Heatwave continues in North India; death toll in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana more than 400
- IPL 2015 final: Mumbai Indians thrash Chennai Super Kings by 41 runs to lift second title
- Heatwave claims over 550 lives so far, Delhi saw hottest day
- LIVE - Cbse.nic.in & cbseresults.nic.in Class 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 to be announced shortly
- Check cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 12 result 2015
- Cbse.nic.in & cbseresults.nic.in Class 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 declared
- Two dead, over 100 injured as Muri Express derails in UP; Prabhu announces Rs 2 lakhs ex-gratia for kin of dead
- Mathura rally: PM Modi slams 'corrupt' UPA regime, lauds NDA govt's efforts in past one year
- CBSE Class 12 results out: Here's how you can check
- PM Narendra Modi's Mathura rally: As it happened
- Check WBBSE (wbresults.nic.in) Class 12th Results: West Bengal Board (wbscvet.org) Higher Secondary Class XII Vocational Results to be declared today at 4 PM
- Police register case against Bainsla, 20 others as Gujjar agitation continues
- CBSE Board 12th XII Results 2015: Cbse.nic.in & cbseresults.nic.in Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 to be announced today at 12 Noon