Amina Abdalla Arraf is a blogger who holds dual Syrian and U.S citizenship.
She also happens to be a lesbian who has shared her frank views on Syrian hypocricy, politics and on her sexuality. She has openly critisised President Bashar Assad's autocratic rules. She is behind a courageous and inspiring blog called 'A gay Girl in Damascus', which includes a mixture of erotic prose and updates about Syria's uprising, including her participation in anti-regime protests. She is not only gay, but is an anti-zionist, pro palestinian sympathiser to boot. A brave dissident in these changing times. with an internationalist outlook.
Her family claim that she was last seen on Monday being bundled into a car by 3 men in their 20s in civilian clothes in Damascus, the capital of Syria, where homosexuality is still illegal.It is probable that the regime has sought to silence her because her blog has become increasingly popular after capturing the imagination of the Syrian opposition as the protest movement struggled in the face of the government crackdown. Supporters have taken to facebook and Twitter to draw attention to Amina's unlawfil seizure.
The day before she was detained , Miss Arraf wrote :-
'I am complex, I am many things; I am an Arab, I am Syrian, I am a woman, I am queer, I am Muslim, I am binational, I am tall, I am too thin; my sect is Sunni, my clan is Omari, my tribe is Qurash, my city is Damascus. I am also a Virginian. I was born on the afternoon in a hospital in sight of where Woodrow Wilson entered the world, where streets are named for country stars.'
One of the last poems she posted was called 'Bird songs' which I reproduce below.
The bird flies free
knowing no boundaries
Borders mean nothing
when you have wings
My heart and my soul
long to follow and soar
out over mountains
and deserts and seas
I have no wings
and earth presses in
wrapped in a sheet
Forever to lie
weighed down by dirtclods
Never to feel
wind on my wings
sun on my back
The Blogging community seem to be rallying around her ,
so below are some links, to the facebook group set up to support her, to Aavaz's online campaign and a link to her own blog.
The continued censorship and imprisonment of bloggers by countries like Syria, China, Iran etc, I believe to be totally unacceptable and must be opposed.Amina is one of thosands of nameless detainess, all over the world, over 10,000, she is a beacon amongst many others.
We must support her and all other friends of freedom.