NewsFeed has covered the story of the ‘Gay Girl in Damascus,’ a blogger who has drawn significant attention for writing about her experiences living as a gay woman in Syria. But recent reports question Amina Abdullah’s identity and the veracity of her posts.
NPR’s Andy Carvin questioned Amina’s existence in a tweet that asked if anyone had met Abdullah in person. He wrote that he decided to investigate after receiving, “a tip from an LGBT Syrian source who didn’t believe Amina existed.”
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Similarly, though some sites interviewed a “close friend” of Abdullah’s, NPR reports that the source, Sandra Bagaria, only communicated with Abdullah via Facebook. “I’m just as confused as everyone else,” Bagaria said, explaining that Abdullah evaded a scheduled phone conversation.
Bagaria also told NPR that, “Amina posted some 200 pictures [to Facebook] of someone who wasn’t her.” The person in question, is in fact Jelena Lecic, of London. Lecic told the BBC that she is not friends with Abdullah and has never met her. Her photo, however, has been used on several media sites to picture Abdullah.
Carvin also spoke with two other Syrian sources, who told him that some blog entries didn’t ring true, especially, “My Father, the Hero.” In this post, Abdullah describes a time when Syrian security forces came to her house to arrest her and her father convinced them to leave. “Given their collective experiences with Syrian security services, they simply did not believe it was possible her father could protect her by shaming them into leaving the house,” Carvin wrote.
While nobody knows the real truth, the discussion itself illustrates the many complications that can arise from Internet anonymity.
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