"When she was traveling with her father, she was grabbed by a soldier who said 'What is a lovely young girl like you doing with an old man like him?'" As she crosses the globe in search of answers, questioning journalists, activists, and intelligence agencies, she prepares for a face-to-face confrontation with Amina's true creator. [39], Monica Hesse of The Washington Post wrote that upon discovery of the hoax, bloggers, women, gays and lesbians, and Syrians were unhappy, since a blog that claimed to be one of them was written by an American heterosexual male. [17] The two men eventually left without arresting Arraf al Omari, but "Since that day, we agreed they might come back for her. Four decades later, Ms. Arraf added, her mother's family fought in the American Revolution at Yorktown, "earning me the right to be in the DAR [A Daughter of the American Revolution]. At one point, Amina wore an Islamic head scarf and posed as her father's wife so that they could slip more easily through government checkpoints. It's the spring thaw, and she is here to convalesce and get to know the community. [9] The publication, known for its commentary on politics, gender, sexuality, and Syrian culture, became, in the words of Nidaa Hassan of The Guardian, "increasingly popular after capturing the imagination of the Syrian opposition as the protest movement struggled in the face of the government crackdown. Which meant that, at least according to a chilling and narrow definition of what it means to be real on the Internet, Tom MacMaster was very good indeed at being Amina. [29], Researchers found a prior blog written under the name of Arraf al Omari called Amina's Attempts at Art (And Alliteration) that advertised itself as a mix of fiction and non-fiction: "This blog is ... where I will be posting samples of fiction and literature I am working on. And I will not tell you which is which. According to the witness (who does not want her identity known), the men were armed ... Amina hit one of them and told the friend to go find her father. As Amina, MacMaster posted on various listservs and websites. [37], Thomas "Tom" MacMaster was raised in Harrisonburg, Virginia. On June 12, The Electronic Intifada published evidence for its claims that Amina was the product of Tom MacMaster of Edinburgh, formerly of Atlanta, Georgia. [34][35] She stated that having her photograph circulated and associated with someone else — whether that person was real or not — was upsetting for her.[34]. [18] There she taught English until the uprising closed classes. "[28] This possibility was also part of a discussion on the BBC World Service programme World Have Your Say including fellow blogger Andy Carvin, who expressed more confidence that she was real, but admitted the evidence was ambiguous. I have to believe that, sooner or later, we will prevail. While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading as to the situation on the ground. The blog post titled "Apology to readers" read: I never expected this level of attention. [36] He initially denied this, but later that day the blog was updated with MacMaster's admission that he was the sole author of the blog. Hajratwala said that she, unaware of MacMaster's true identity, did not send the script to an agent because she believed the material was "rambling and in need of a lot of work. [16] The Lede Blog (of The New York Times) noted that Amina's draft of her biography indicated "very deep" American roots. Join Facebook to connect with Amina Araf and others you may know. "[15], The character of Amina Abdallah Arraf is a dual Syrian and American citizen, with an American mother and Syrian father. "[7] As Amina, MacMaster wrote pieces for Lez Get Real. Mackey, Robert; Stack, Liam (June 7, 2011). [17][21], In an email interview with CNN, MacMaster wrote as Amina that she believed that political change could improve gay rights. This blog invites your comments. Sophie Deraspe revisits the events, and meets the many people ... See full summary », Elie, a young woman from the city, has come to a remote North Atlantic island. Graber said that the interaction "was a major sock-puppet hoax crash into a major sock-puppet hoax. "[7] As Amina, MacMaster wrote pieces for Lez Get Real. [18] She was described as walking in the area of the Abbasid bus station near Fares al Khouri Street, on her way to meet a person involved with the Local Coordinating Committee, a real opposition planning group.