Gay Girl in Damascus detained
HOAX – DECEITFUL – LIES – DISHONORS THE TENS OF THOUSANDS WHO PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE DAILY IN THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM IN SYRIA. SHAME ON THIS GUY. 13/06/2011
“If we want to live in a free country,” Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari wrote on her blog on 27 April, “we must begin by living as though we are already in a free country.”
And so the 35-year-old Syrian, an outspoken lesbian, feminist and anti-government protester, continued to post highly critical entries on the blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus, even as the security situation in her home country became ever more precarious, and her own position increasingly at risk.
She was teargassed, arrested and detained with other protesters at demonstrations in March and April; at one rally she saw a young man shot dead in front of her. But “for those of us who have taken part in the protests,” she wrote, “there’s no going back. For decades, we were afraid; be too critical of the regime, be seen as stepping out of official views, and one might expect a visit from the security police or a trip to a jail. Be more vocal and publicly call for the overthrow of the government and be prepared for either exile or death. Those of us who criticised things were very careful with our words and the forums we raised criticisms in. Now, though, everything has changed; too many have crossed those lines for there to be a going back.”
Late in April, two men from the Syrian security services came to her house late at night to arrest her; her father stood up to them and they left. A week later, however, both she and her father had been forced into separate safe houses, moving from house to house, meeting only in disguise. Her American mother (Araf holds dual citizenship) and other family members had fled to Beirut, but her father, from an old and respected family, was determined to stay in Damascus, and so Araf stayed too, continuing to blog: “Our revolution will win; we will have a free and democratic Syria soon. I know it in my bones.”
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