AWMWC members express their dismay of the way the US blogger MacMaster damaged their credibility
AWMWC (Arab Women Media Watch Centre) members and bloggers express their dismay and denounce the way US blogger MacMaster has damaged their credibility and underestimated their struggle by writing a fictional blog without considering the consequences and the damaging effects and miscalculated results of such attempt.
Tom MacMaster, 40 years old, working on his master’s degree at University of Edinburgh created the blog of Amina Omari, the “Damascus lesbian girl” and presented it as a real blog written by a Syrian woman. His blog came as a gift for the Syrian regime following his confession that Amina, the Lesbian Syrian woman, is not a real character and does not exist.
The readers of the controversial blog were surprised on Sunday June 12 to read an apology written by the American blogger Tom MacMaster, who confessed that he was behind the content published on the blog, and that the lesbian Syrian woman Amina Abdullah Omari, aged 25, does not exist in real life but is a fictional character he created.
The Syrian authorities rejoiced following his confession because such revelation became their proof that all the blogs and everything available online about the wrong doings and horrors of the oppressive regime are only false and fabricated campaign targeting the regime.
The blog attracted the attention of international media since its launch in February last, leading to campaigns on social media and “Facebook” demanding an immediate release of Amina. Especially when the blog claimed that “Amina” was at the Abbasids Square in Damascus, on her way to meet some people in connection with demonstrations taking place in Syria, and that three armed men kidnapped her in their car and took her away, and that her father failed to find her because it is difficult to trace her due to the complexity and large number of security centres services in Syria, ruling out the possibility that she might be killed by the authorities because this would have happened long ago if the authorities wanted to do so.
The blog, the blogger and his confession triggered feelings of anger and rage amongst Arab bloggers and human rights activists especially women bloggers, because from their point of view this American blogger abused the electronic media and its credibility, and downplayed their struggles and damaged their credibility.
An Iraqi blogger who requested to keep his identity anonymous said:
“It is very unfortunate when fake bloggers or tweeters use social networking sites for their own clear propaganda agenda that has nothing to do with the aspirations of the peoples of the Middle East (although they hide under their guise). These fake prophets, who often seek to derail or distort the general genuine messages coming out from the region, must not be confused with the legitimate plight of Mideastern bloggers, who are themselves often suspicious of foreign agendas.”
Iqbal Tamimi, Director of AWMW in UK and a campaigning journalist, has denounced Mr MacMaster’s disregard to the importance of online campaigning. She said “ his blog came as a rescue for the Syrian regime, who will use this example to refute any information conveyed by electronic media, which has been the only source of journalism that managed to break the embargo on information and media censorship , hence damaging the credibility of citizen journalists, who are reporting about what is going on online, supporting their reports by audio and visual material, because the Syrian authorities and other oppressive regimes in the Middle East can use this incident to claim that all online sources of news are fabricated by pro Americans.