Gay Girl in Damascus: Saving Brown Women from Brown Men in Syria

Citation:

Kuntz, Blair. 2019. "Gay Girl in Damascus: Saving Brown Women From Brown Men in Syria." Paper presented at International Conference on Gender Research, April.

Author: Blair Kuntz

Abstract:

This paper extracts the phrase "white women saving brown women from brown men" from Gita Spivak's celebrated essay " Can the Subaltern Speak?" and applies it to the various Western interventions that have used "crisis initiation" (i.e. false flags) using the theme of gender injustice to initiate "humanitarian interventions" in the Middle East, Libya and the Former Yugoslavia. The paper analyzes the hoax of the social media blog "Gay Girl of Damascus", which appeared at the beginning of the so-called "Syrian Uprising" of 2011 and examines how the hoax advanced the Western project for regime change in Syria. The blog purported to record the experiences of Amina Arraf who described herself as a Syrian-American lesbian living in Damascus. Eventually, on June 6, 2011, Amina's cousin claimed that Amina had been abducted by the Syrian government, sparking popular outrage in the Western LGBT community and widespread coverage within the Western mainstream media. In the end, the blog post was revealed to be a complete hoax and "Amina" was revealed to be Tom McMaster, a heterosexual American man living in Edinburgh. The paper discusses how Western "humanitarian interventions" have been used as a cynical justification for war and the theft of resources and how Western "imperial feminists" (who in turn transform into "white women saving brown women from brown men") have colluded in the endeavor. Rather than improving the circumstances for women and sexual minorities in the region, Western governments and their allies have worsened the situation as they have nurtured, encouraged and supported various jihadist rebels. The jihadist victims include the Yezidi women of Iraq taken as sex slaves; women killed for adultery; and gay men thrown off tall buildings, stoned to death or shot for allegedly practicing same-sex relations.

Keywords: imperial feminism, humanitarian intervention, Sexual minorities, middle east, Arab Spring

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Media, Humanitarian Assistance, LGBTQ, Race, Sexuality Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2019

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