Tom MacMaster fabricated the life and times of a troubled lesbian woman living in Syria. He pretended he was Amina Abdallah Arraf al-Omari, "A Gay Girl in Damascus" complete with misappropriated photos from an oblivious British woman. Amina's plight had tugged at the heart strings of the blogs readership. Amina had endured teargas at a rebel protest. She had witnessed a man shot dead before her. She had recently been kidnapped by Baath militia according to her cousin... who in reality was just another personality of old Tom's. Mainstream media had picked up on the story as insight into what is happening inside Syria as the dawn of the Arab Spring begins to break there. Once the fable had grown large enough it ensured its own demise when the real woman in the photos cried foul and the blogosphere teemed with both skeptics and faithful followers who sought and discovered the truth. There was no Amina. MacMaster had concocted everything because he wished to bring awareness to the wrongdoing in Syria.
Is this ethical? Is it okay to lie if you believe it to be for the greater good? What if the lie had cost an innocent person their life? Reckon how often this sort of thing happens?
I don't like the lie in that story. It pretends to be a real life story but it isn't. It makes people want to help, it makes them hate people who hurt the girl in that story. But it isn't really real. It's a fiction. And the author should have made clear that it is. Even if similar cases happen in that country.
It's extremely unfair. Not just towards the reader, but also towards the people whose lives are similar to the "lives" of the characters in that story. Because people will not believe them if they ever dare to tell their story. They will instead be reminded in the lie that they believed in.
Yet I think that lies can be ethical. Other lies.
Depending on who you lie to and about what, a lie can be excusable, justifiable or even necessary.
If you lie, but don't cause damage to anyone, it might be excusable.
If you lie to protect someone from something that would make them sad... like your grandma is in hospital and probably dying and her favorite pet just got hit by a bus, then you don't tell her but instead you lie and you say that you adopted the pet and will take good care of it. That would be justifiable. Why would you make the old lady sad in her last days?
Then there are situations, where it would be unethical not to lie. You absolutely need to lie, if you hide and protect a person who is persecuted for political reasons or because of racism or other unfair reasons.
the confession: http://funadvice.com/r/155jpiduq2a