As the anti-government uprising in Syria has unfolded, Syrian-American blogger Amina Abdallah has attracted readers and been noticed by The Washington Post, CNN, Time,and The Guardian for her musings on the protest movement and what it's like to be gay in Syria. But her blog--A Gay Girl in Damascus--broached a very different topic today: Someone introducing herself as Abdallah's cousin wrote that Abdallah was seized by three armed men while on her way to meet with protest organizers. The cousin adds that while the family suspects Abdallah was seized by Syrian security forces, all that's known right now is that she's missing. A Facebook page has quickly sprouted up for Abdallah, a dual citizen who was born in Virginia to an American mother and a Syrian father and, at six months, moved to Syria, where she has relatives in the government and the Muslim Brotherhood (the photo above comes from Facebook, though we can't confirm its authenticity). On the Facebook page, there's discussion of Abdallah's name (Amina Abdallah or Amina Arraf?) and how to contact U.S. representatives from Virginia to facilitate Abdallah's release.
While we await more information, here are some excerpts from Abdallah's blog posts over the last few months:
- On the Origins of the Syrian Uprising: "No conspiracy, no diabolical plot, but the slow accumulation of grievances and indignities and a people who'd outgrown its rulers. We were still sleeping, but barely. And a spark was all that was needed to awaken us. Bouazizi first lit the spark that set the Arab world aflame." [Another Day in Damascus, 06/05/11]
- On Non-Violent Resistance: "Some people say you fight fire with fire: no, you fight fire with water, not with fire. We will put out the blind hatreds of sectarianism not with sectarianism of our own but with love and with solidarity." [Another Day in Damascus, 06/05/11]
- On a Night Visit From Security Agents: "'Did she tell you that she likes to sleep with women?' he grins, pure poison, feeling like he has made a hit. 'That she is one of those faggots who fucks little girls?' (the arabic he used is far cruder ... you get the idea). My dad glances at me. I nod; we understand each other. 'She is my daughter,' he says and I can see the anger growing in his eyes, 'and she is who she is and if you want her, you must take me as well.'" [My Father, the Hero, 04/26/11]
- On U.S. Assistance: "If, Mr. Obama, your fine words about democracy and freedom are to prove true, you will not offer us the poisoned cup of assistance; you will not send bombs to rain on our cities, nor kill our misguided brothers. You will let us find our own path to freedom and you will restrain your clients in Riyadh, Beirut and Tel Aviv from doing us harm." [Thanks, But No Thanks, Mr. Obama, 04/25/11]
- On Protesting: "Teargas was lobbed at us. I saw people vomitting from the gas as I covered my own mouth and nose and my eyes burned. (As an aside, I am sure I wasn’t the only one to note that, if this becomes standard practice, a niqab is a very practical thing to wear in future.) [Making Sense of Syria Today, 04/19/11]