Voltaire said of the Holy Roman Empire that it was “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.” So it goes with the Gay Girl In Damascus, who turns out to be neither gay, nor a girl, nor in Damascus.
“Gay Girl In Damascus” was ostensibly a blog run by a young woman named “Amina Abdullah,” who offered “an out Syrian lesbian’s thoughts on life, the universe, and so on.” Instead, it turns out to be the work of Tom MacMaster, a married 40-year-old college student, writing from Edinburgh University. What a blessed age we live in, when the perpetual electronic Christmas tree of the Internet is decorated with forty-year-old college students!
It’s too bad MacMaster didn’t have the wit to name his phony Syrian lesbian something like “Aisha Rigobertah al-Menchu.” Maybe that would have been too obvious.
MacMaster eventually spiced up his phony blog with a fake post from Amina’s “cousin,” who claimed the brave activist had been “snatched off the street by three armed men and bundled into a car bearing a pro-government window sticker,” according to an AFP report. This sparked an international outcry, which turned rather sour when Amina was revealed as a fictional character, and her well-wishers realized they had been played for chumps. Even some major media outlets were suckered by the story.
One would have thought that basic curiosity about the previously unsuspected Syrian lesbian subculture would have led reporters to investigate the provenance of the “Gay Girl In Damascus” blog sooner. Of course, they don’t usually investigate stories that play into their prejudices. Look at the long, fraudulent careers of fabulists like Jayson Blair of the New York Times, or Stephen Glass of The New Republic. Tell a “journalist” what he wants to hear, or pretend to be something he really wants to write about, and the layers of editorial fact-checking become very thin.
MacMaster claims he meant well, and just wanted to “create an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about.” The UK Daily Mail marvels that an “invented woman’s story touched a nerve with so many people around the world.” Their story is illustrated with a picture of MacMaster wearing, of all things, a T-shirt with the image of leftist murderer Che Guevara, whose victims the blogger presumably does not feel strongly about. Ironic that he’d be walking around wearing the image of a real person the “reality-based community” turned into a fictional character.
It says a lot about the global Left that so many of them couldn’t get worked into a towering rage against the butcher Assad until they thought he was putting the thumbscrews to a lesbian blogger. Shooting unarmed people in the head, flattening towns with armored assaults, sponsoring terror attacks that kill American soldiers, launching assaults on the border of Israel, and pushing thousands of refugees into Turkey wasn’t bad enough?
There’s a depressing amount of pure intellectual laziness behind the idea of inventing an imaginary victim for a role-playing game, when the streets of Syria are littered with the blood-soaked remains of real atrocities. Liberals waste a lot of time throwing fits over finger-painted caricatures they create to sustain their illusions. They’re remarkably good at playing each other for saps.