The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

More on Maspero

Comedian/commentator Bassem Youssef ("Egypt's Jon Stewart") takes Egyptian State TV to task for its coverage of the Coptic protests and its contribution to the violence that followed (in Arabic).

Youssef does his usual great job of collecting egregious examples of the media coverage, including footage of the break-in at the private TV channels in Maspero (which were shut down the night of October 9). 

As Youssef drily notes: "Copts are often protesting about superficial things, like the fact that 6 churches have been burnt down in under a year and no one has been prosecuted. And there were "infiltrators" in the protest...there were Muslim sympathizers!" 

Also, the site Maspero testimonies is collecting eye-witness accounts of the violence. 

This is part of Khaled El Sherbiny's testimony. El Sherbiny is a pharmacist who rushed to the clashes to help the wounded. 

All I saw were a burning armoured vehicle and some burnt cars, so I went into the backstreets behind Maspero to see what was happening there.

I can’t find words to describe what I saw there, except massacre... or genocide, with loud screams and the smell of tear gas.

The Copts (men, women, children and elders) was being beaten by thugs…no not beaten, annihilated.

In short, anyone who was carrying a cross was brutally attacked with knives and rods.

I tried, with a friend who was accompanying me, to help Christians get away, and we did succeed in helping a few escape and in moving some of the injured to Ramses Hilton Hotel and out of danger’s way.

Thugs were breaking the cars parked behind Maspero.

The injuries were serious, most cases resulting from the use of sharp and semi-sharp metal.

Women were being attacked by thugs, some of whom I saw on the day of Abbassya, which means they were mercenaries, but serving whom? Most Christians hid in a garage adjacent to Maspero. Suddenly I heard very loud screams. Thugs had entered the garage.

My friend and I with the help of some decent passers-by carried the injured and took them away from the scene of the crime. 

And this is part of Hani Bushra's. Bushra was attacked by a Muslim mob and protected by sympathetic police officers. 

I mentioned that I was a Christian being attacked by a mob, and the officers told me that I should not mention that I am a Christian because they may not be able to protect me. This was in the midst of at least 400 members of the police! At that point, I was assigned two handlers to stay with me at all times.

I stayed with the CSF [Central Security Forces] units and observed the following:

1) Four bodies in the lobby of an apartment building that the Egyptian ambulances could not carry because the blood was everywhere and because some of the bodies were in pieces. When I asked my CSF companions (we had became friends) about the bodies, they told me it was three Christians and one Muslim shot by the army and driven over using a humvee (yep, my tax dollars in action, btw, the U.S. gives two billion dollars a year as aid to the Egyptian military).

2) The members of the CSF were armed with live ammunition, and the order was given in front of me.

3) One of the CSF companions told me that he beat senseless a Christian man he arrested because it was said that this man was carrying a gun and shooting the people.

4) The army and not the police were the ones attacking the protestors. In fact, the police was not doing anything.

I was there for about two hours, and then suddenly a mob came to the police saying “Christians where are you, Islam is here”. They were not stopped by anyone but cheered by army units that were parked by the CSF cordon.