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David Hines [userpic]

Free Amina

June 7th, 2011 (09:50 pm)

Yesterday, Amina Arraf, who blogs as "Amina Abdallah," was grabbed by thugs in Syria.

If you don't know who she is, she writes a blog about, among other things, being an out lesbian in Syria. She is on the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from me, which isn't surprising. (She has written some stuff on that line that IMHO goes from deeply felt politics to skating a nasty line, but frankly I expect that from most people in the region, Syrian or not. I once had a good friend tell me how cosmopolitan his neighborhood was by saying, "I could even have JEWS at my house!" He didn't know I was Jewish. Still doesn't; I'm saving it for an occasion when I want to blow his mind.) Abdallah writes about her hopes for democracy in Syria (good luck), her accounts of what it's like to be out and gay in Syria (that post is a MUST-READ), and (another must-read) what it's like to get rousted by secret police.

In that encounter, her father chased off the thugs who showed up on their doorstep with a ballsy speech. Last night, she wasn't so lucky. She was seen to be grabbed off the street by three armed men while en route to a political meeting. It's presumed the guys are Baath Party thugs or one of the security services, but there are several of them and they're not exactly forthcoming about who's got which prisoners. Her family and friends are looking for her, with no luck as yet. They suspect she's just being held for a while, but she may be forcibly deported (she holds dual citizenship). With the Syrian government, both of these are best-case scenarios.

It is worth noting -- particularly, I add, by the Syrian government -- that Amina Arraf was born in Virginia, and her dual citizenship is with the United States of America.

ETA: The WASHINGTON POST is reporting that Amina Abdallah may not exist. All photos purported to be of her are of a woman from London named Jelena Lecic. The State Department is trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Syrian activists, who have talked extensively with her online, are boggled. If this is a fake, it isn't just a case of her fooling folks like me and reporters. She fooled actual Syrian activists, some of whom corresponded extensively with her. The woman purporting to be Amina's cousin, who reported her alleged kidnapping to the blog, has quit corresponding with reporters. Wowzers.

ETA: It's official. Gay Girl in Damascus is White Guy from Georgia.

Originally posted on my DW. | people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.


Posted by: Doqz (doqz)
Posted at: June 7th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)

I have a nodding online familiarity with a lady: we used to share a mailing list of a writer I like before she was banned.

Full disclosure - I detested her with a passion, so my analysis may be biased through and through. That said, my impression of her conception of democracy was a very specific type defined to fit a rather unique idea. Essentially 'Islamic Democracy.' She has relatives fairly high up both in the Assad regime and the Muslim brotherhood, so given likely environment that defined her upbringing that didn't surprise me very much.

Apart from that, last I remember seeing her comments on her personal life she claimed to be married to a converted (to Islam) Jewish man and have 2 kids with him.

Posted by: Vvalkyri (vvalkyri)
Posted at: June 7th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)

The father... wow.

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