Writings from when I lived in Egypt, 2011-2012, and a few since then
Thursday, October 13, 2011
What Really Happened pt. 2
Originally published on Huffington Post Blogs:
On Sunday night around 8 p.m., I logged into Twitter and the reports started streaming in, fragmented but urgent. Violence had erupted near the Maspero building between a march of Coptic Christians coming from Shubra and a mixture of soldiers, police, and civilians. Gunshots were heard. Deaths were confirmed. We were witnessing the worst violence since the revolution.
But from the beginning there was more to it. Peppered in among the Twitter messages from journalists and activists were accusations leveled at the State media, which had called upon "honest" or "honorable" Egyptians (depending on the translation) to come out into the streets and protect the military from the protesters. It was also reported on Nile TV, a state-owned station, that several soldiers had been killed. I grabbed some tea and started reading everything I could find.
And I found a lot. Many journalists were incredulous. Sarah Sheffer wrote that "Egyptian state TV claimed that Coptic Christians initiated the attack, angering many who believe that the inaccurate state TV discourse will insight [sic] further violence." Tom Gara tweeted that "Egyptian propaganda managed to turn a massacre of protesters into a two-way deadly 'clash' with deaths on both sides." Tony Karon suggested that "the sectarian issue itself is one easily manipulated to create a specter of chaos -- and make the argument for Egypt to be ruled by a strong hand," meaning that the military started the violence, and blamed it on the protesters. The journalists also pointed out that the names of the soldiers supposedly killed had not come out, because they did not really exist.