Retraction: I now know that the story of "Maia" was fictional
The story posted on this site in May about "Maia," the Sri Lankan-American Buddhist who was tortured by her Serb captors while on an aid mission during the Bosnian war, is fictional.
At the time, I sought verification of her story as written by Trusted Friend, and we waited for weeks to publish while we both sought verification. We thought we had enough verification through Maia's "Curious Buddhist" blog site, and a Memorial site to her death filled with hundreds of entries. As it turns out, both sites were elaborate fictions.
A chat forum based in England called "Ship of Fools" was used to draw thousands of readers into the life and story of "Maia," her blog "Curious Buddhist," and Maia's husband "Al," a rabbi "Yish," and a lawyer named "Dave Midland." Trusted Friend picked up on the powerful story of Maia, got in touch with "Dave Midland," and wrote his own memorial to her based on all the internet information available about Maia.
However, Maia, Al, Yish, and Dave Midland all turned out to be the same person. A Ship of Fools reader recently posted this on my site:
I checked the site above and read about the regret and anguish of over 400 Ship of Fools members who were duped into having their heartstrings pulled when it was revealed that Maia / Al / Yish / Dave Midland were elaborate fakes, and a sick feign at reality by a fiction writer. However, last time I checked, this forum site exposing the fraud was down. It seems the author is quite adept at making and shutting down various websites, from memorial sites to blogs, and does not want the word out that he is perpetrating a lie. If "Finding Karadzic" gets shut down suddenly, you will know exactly what happened. Although "Ship of Fools" readers exposed the writer as a fake, this perpetrator has not yet been identified.
Unfortunately the Maia / Curious Buddhist appears to have ben created by
someone with Munchhausen's Syndrome or similar.
I am very sorry to learn of this, because I believed her story, and cried when she died. I knew very little about Bosnia before hearing 'her' story (I am 22 & a student in England), and have no axe to grind.
You may want to read this & contact the site owners for more information: http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=4;t=003374
I regret posting the story when my verification was incomplete. But I also believe that one of the important functions of this blog is as a truth-seeking forum, where rumors are taken and face value and dispelled or confirmed by various readers. The doubt and questioning posted in the comments section of the original Maia post both seem to indicate the healthiness of this process. If I applied journalistic standards to my Karadzic writing, I would have very little to write about, as it is tough to investigate and verify wide-ranging rumors from behind a computer screen. For me, this blog about the complex Karadzic problem is underpinned by a spirit of truthseeking and inquiry. If I can avoid partisanship, public relations, and spin, then I'm doing my job, for whatever that is worth.