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Thursday, June 9, 2011

‘A Gay Girl In Damascus’ Blog

**Note: This story was updated on June 13, 2011

Here & Now Guest:

Andy Carvin, NPR’s senior social media strategist

A photo that claims to show Amina Abdallah Arraf posted on a Facebook page calling for her release. A woman in London has since come forward to say this picture was of her, not the blogger. (FreeAminaArraf/Facebook)

A photo that claims to show Amina Abdallah Arraf posted on a Facebook page calling for her release. A woman in London has since come forward to say this picture was of her, not the blogger. (FreeAminaArraf/Facebook)

By: Kevin Sullivan, Here & Now

It’s hard to uncover the truth in Syria. The government has banned almost all journalists from coming into the country, so it’s difficult to verify stories coming out of the country.

And that’s the case with the blogger, who writes “A Gay Girl In Damascus.”

The blogger claims to be a Syrian-American named Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari, who writes of being openly gay in Syria and criticizes the government.

On Monday, someone claiming to be her cousin wrote that the blogger was snatched by security forces.

But now there are questions as to whether the blogger even exists, after photos she posted of herself turned out to be of a different woman living in London.

The UK’s Guardian.com reports:

In one of the blogger’s posts, she expressed frustration with the Syrian government, writing “Each day that goes on like this sees more anger at the regime, more justice that is demanded and not given. If I were them, I’d realize this. They cannot go on this way; they will lose, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps next month…”

Previously, the blogger wrote that government thugs once tried to take her away, but were stopped by her father.

The blogger writes that her father eventually shamed the thugs into leaving her alone.

Andy Carvin, senior social media strategist for NPR, says it’s unclear whether the blogger was a Syrian dissident, using a fake identity to protect herself from the government, or whether the whole thing’s a hoax.

But Carvin concludes that tragically, “It is entirely possible that somewhere there is a woman sitting in a jail cell in Syria, while the rest of us debate her authenticity.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Nefert-tmu

    Thank you for intelligently covering a supposed conspiracy.  Now if you could just turn those eyes on the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden’s supposed killing, the United States’ interests in Syria, etc.

  • Uncle_ernie

    On today’s show the commentator said “There’s plenty of policies…”

    Grammatically this reads “There IS plenty of policies…”

    I do not think that if this person had actually avoided the pronoun that she would have allowed herself to say the expanded version.  Most educated people cannot allow these words to come out without catching and correcting them.

    The pronoun however seems to be making fools of all of us.

    This misuse of “there’s” as an opening word in a sentence is epidemic.

    I have recorded examples from this week’s Senate hearings on for profit colleges when such grammar was exhibited by an under secretary of education. 

    I have seen it come from the mouth of a member of the Federal Reserve board of governors.

    The New York Times has such examples of bad grammar in print and the Ap frequently misuses this opening pronoun in its dispatches which make it to every major online news feed on the web.

    Obsessed about this as I most certainly must be the fact that por use of our own language is daily exhibited by even our most respected media sources reflects what must now be admitted is a deeply rooted deterioration of our educational system and our editorial offices where bad grammar is used and tolerated.

    Point for the record, I have to date noticed no such mistakes in The China Times online news.

    I suggest you run your past transcripts though a good grammar checker and take note of how it can be seen that a misuse of a language might in fact reflect on the credibility of the news source.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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