Thursday, June 09, 2011

Gay Girl In Damascus, Tewdwr Moss and 'his' Moon Child: A letter from a visitor to Syria

Dearest Madame,

Your blog on the inequities of reporting between the disappearance of Gay Girl in Damascus and the fate of Robert Tewdwr Moss piqued my interest as always, but for a couple of reasons. [See posting below this to catch up]

Gay Girl in Damascus, as an internet text, is an inspiring document, but also very zeitgeisty. The author, a US-educated woman who made a conscious decision to return to Damascus knowing that she would face oppression, is a middlebrow American movie heroine in the making. In fact I'm waiting for someone to option the blog for a film in which Megan Fox will play said Damascus Gay Girl in a dead-eyed bid for an Oscar.

I rather fear that while Gay Girl from Damascus faces torture and rape at the hands of the Syrian secret police we will be turning what she left behind into the new Kite Runner.

Secondly, I was in Syria for nearly three weeks last year, and spent five days in Hama, where a lot of the political unrest is centred (this is nothing new - it was the stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood many years ago and al-Assad levelled all but a single street of what must have been a beautiful old town to get rid of dissent). We also spent four days in Aleppo, where Tewdwr Moss recounts [in Cleopatra's Wedding Present] meeting a young gay man whom he named "The Moon Child" on account of his wide round face and startling green eyes.

I'm happy to report that Moon Child is very much still with us and working with his brothers in the souks of Aleppo, which have as yet not quite been turned over to the tourists and remain somewhere you can buy the polyester bedspreads, coffee whitener and pleather mules that form the backbone of commerce across the Islamic world. Just don't, if you ever go there, buy the macaroons, as they taste of the diesel on which the baker runs his oven.

Ever yours, C

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