Video of the Egyptian army running over civilians with APCs

During the Egyptian revolution, I and many others relied on the Twitter feeds of the well-known civil society activist Alaa Abd El Fattah and his sister Mona Seif to get a feel for events on the ground in Tahrir Square.  Now, Alaa is being held by the Egyptian army, presumably for a piece that he published in Al Shorouk (click here for its English translation) about the killing of two dozen protesters by the army on 9 October, and Mona has helped make this powerful video about what really happened the night of the killings.

But first, some context.  After the revolution there were many Americans who were almost gleefully skeptical about its liberal democratic intent and saw a coming Islamist takeover.  As I asserted at the time, the greater near-term threat was from the Egyptian army, which Mubarak had left in power to oversee the political transition.  During the revolution, the protesters had initially cheered the appearance of the army on the streets because it replaced the despised and thuggish police but (as I argued in this post) that applause was mostly tactical, intended to shame the army into not firing on its fellow citizens.

It worked then, but all shame is gone now.  On 9 October, the military killed dozens of civilians protesting in Cairo near the state television building (known as Maspero) just north of Tahrir Square and then — in a macabre Orwellian twist — subsequently charged thirty of the protesters for supposedly firing on the army, putting them up before military tribunals rather than civilian courts.  This video is intended to exonerate them.  It comes (via The Arabist) from The Campaign to End the Military Trials of Civilians: the first part provides background but then, around the 4min mark, it starts to show footage of what really happened on 9 October, including armored personnel carriers racing through crowds knocking down protesters and crushing them.  The footage is graphic, the events chilling.

It is a reminder, as I wrote once before, that what Egypt has experienced is only half a revolution: the protesters succeeded in rolling back the police state that had solidified its grip on the country over the last twenty years but Egypt is now, still, a military state.  This video is proof that half a revolution is not enough.


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