Two important updates on stories that we have covered over the past couple months!
First, Sara Yasin wrote recently about a blog called “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” where Syrian-American blogger Amina Abdullah Arraf has been writing about the revolution in Syria. Amina Abdullah Arraf was allegedly abducted on June 6, and has not been heard from. Many news organizations have since questioned her identity, especially the pictures assumed to be hers were discovered to be of another woman, Jelena Lecic. While we’re all very curious about Amina’s identity, an excellent quote from The Washington Post blog helps keep us on the bigger picture: “Again, people should operate under the assumption that there is a real blogger under detention in Syria. Who they are is another matter.”
Back in April, Tasnim looked at the media coverage of Iman al-Obeidi, a Libyan woman who first made the news in late March, when she told foreign journalists at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli about her detention and rape by members of Gaddafi’s militias. After being smuggled out of Libya, taking refuge in Qatar, and recently being expelled from Qatar and sent back to Libya, al-Obeidi is now apparently on her way to the United States. According to the most recent news, she has arrived in Romania, and may be staying there temporarily.
Of course, despite the attention that these particular stories have received, these women are not alone in the violence that they have experienced. These updates remind us also of the many others in Syria, Libya and elsewhere who have recently been arrested, imprisoned, tortured, raped, or killed. Our prayers go out to all of them.
UPDATE (June 12, 2011): Amina was a hoax. At this time, let’s not focus on what an asshole the man behind this is, but on the very real danger that imprisoned journalists and bloggers in Syria and other countries are facing.