By Jenny Wilson
Inspiring the Syrian protest movement is an honest and reflective voice of the revolution: a half-American citizen journalist who, in illustrating her country's plight, risks death herself.
In a country that outlaws homosexuality, Amina Abdullah's blog, "A Gay Girl in Damascus," offers what she describes as "an out Syrian lesbian's thoughts on life, the universe and so on." Through the lens of her own life as an openly gay woman in Syria, she gives readers unsettling details about the state of the country.
Abdullah started blogging on February 19 with a post titled, "Is this dawn or dusk? What can Arab LGBT people expect with changes underway?" But it was not until her April 29 post, "My Father, the Hero," that her blog drew widespread international attention. In this story, Abdullah tells readers how her father reacted when security services came to the house accusing her of, "conspiring against the state, urging armed uprising, working with foreign elements." She describes how her father defended her and convinced them to leave by telling the security agents:
"She is not the one you should fear; you should be heaping praises on her and on people like her. They are the ones saying alawi, sunni, arabi, kurdi, duruzi, christian, everyone is the same and will be equal in the new Syria; they are the ones who, if the revolution comes, will be saving your mother and your sisters. They are the ones fighting the wahhabi most seriously. You idiots are, though, serving them by saying 'every sunni is salafi, every protester is salafi, every one of them is an enemy' because when you do that you make it so."
Abdullah, delighted at the outcome, told readers, "MY DAD had just defeated them! Not with weapons but with words ... My father is a hero; I always knew that ... but now I am sure ..." She reported that her father said he wouldn't leave until democracy came or he was dead, and thus, she vowed to do the same.
But the authorities were persistent, and last week, in a post titled "Gone Underground," Abdullah said her "aged father" had decided he needed to escape the home. "They came back for you. This time, there's nothing I can do. Go somewhere and don't tell me where you are. Be safe. I love you," he told her.
Abdullah heeded his advice, and moved her life and belongings elsewhere. "I have no desire to be a martyr, even to my own cause so I will do what I can to stay free," she wrote, while continuing to hope and predict that Syria would soon be a free nation.
As reflected in her posts, the future for Abdullah as well as her country is uncertain. But she remains impressively clear-headed in spite of the turmoil. "I want to live in a free country and I don't want to move," she wrote yesterday.