Updated below, to include a link to Tom MacMaster’s real apology
Lying to people is never a great way to help an important cause. Still, I can understand how someone can get caught up in a lie of this magnitude, I suppose. I write a lot of fiction, and I know that fiction, even political blog fiction, has a way of warping an individual author’s mind in a peculiar way – that’s usually positive, but then it can wind up like this.
What I do not get is the fact that Tom MacMaster has basically defended his actions.
I do not believe that I have harmed anyone – I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about.
Hate to break it to you man, but you have harmed plenty of people. Such as, you know, those who are really in Syria. You’ve sat in the goddamn safety of Scotland, pontificating, while other people have suffered from brutal violence. You’re typing away at your freaking keyboard, while people are getting shot. You’re on vacation in Istanbul, while a country is falling apart not far away. None of these things are your fault. But what has resulted in actual harm is this: Your lying and self-aggrandizement helps de-legitimize the very things that many of those people are fighting against.
I’m no expert on Syria, but gosh – it seems to me that a fake persona created by some tool from a foreign country plays directly into the hands of those who are claiming that no violence is going on and everything is just dandy.
Can I just say that I’m not at all surprised that Tom MacMaster is a student? Because while most students certainly don’t act like this – he certainly fits a certain type, the self-righteous type for whom serious issues such as what’s going on in Syria are a kind of “thought exercise”, people so caught up in precious theory that they’re willing to appropriate other people’s problems and other people’s pain for the sake of a rhetorical point.
“”I regret that a lot of people feel that I led them on…”
Those people? The ones who feel this way right now? Were led on, dumbass. Their feelings are exactly correct on this one.
“What I don’t regret is the fact that I did hopefully bring a good bit of attention to real human rights abuses in Syria, the real situation that real people are facing even if through a fictional voice.”
No, man, no! You brought a lot of attention to yourself! And you appear to have learned exactly jack shit from the experience!
Once again, I can understand how someone can get caught up in a fictional online persona. But after having been called on it – and called on the damage such actions result in – there should be no excuses. “I fucked up, I’m sorry.” Why is that so hard to say in a situation like this?
I mean, how about I go and pretend to be an Auschwitz survivor on the internet? A Chernobyl victim? A human rights activist blogging via mobile phone via a stray WiFi signal while locked in jail somewhere? I mean, it would draw attention to the issues, bro. It would totally not be a joke! Sure, I’d be stomping on the dignity of the actual people whose lives were torn apart, but I would be providing a Western audience with a unique voice here! Because we all know, that catering to a Western audience with a goddamn blog is the key issue when violence breaks out. Clearly.
This reads to me as sincere and genuine and thoughtful. And I’m glad for that.