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» 10/14/2011
EGYPT
Truth and justice not lies and superficiality on massacre of Copts
by Bernardo Cervellera
The results of the autopsies will be released Oct. 27. But Egyptian army trying to silence the issue by manipulating the truth and accusing the Copts of provoking the violence despite the eyewitness accounts and videos. Shenouda III is opposed to the military’s version. Obama also assumes that the Copts were violent. Not to forget AsiaNews publishes some pictures of the massacre, sent by Coptic organizations.

Rome (AsiaNews) - The tortured bodies of Coptic Christians killed on 9 October demand truth and justice. The 26 still bloody corpses, heads smashed by the violence of military tanks and armored vehicles are piled up in of Cairo's Coptic Hospital and other hospitals in the city waiting for autopsy. Ihsan Kamel, head of forensic medicine, said it will take time and that the results will be published only on October 27. He also claimed that declarations made by forensic doctors in the past week may be inaccurate.

Perhaps this warning is due to scrupulousness and scientific accuracy. We hope it is not an attempt to discredit the eye-witness accounts of demonstrators or the evidence of doctors who stressed that the deaths of several victims was caused by bullets from firearms and from the crushing weight of heavy vehicles.

Yesterday, Magda Adly, chief of El Nadeem, a Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture, said he witnessed the autopsy on the bodies of eight killed in Maspero (the area close to Tahrir Square, where the massacre took place) . According to Adly it is evident that the six bodies had been crushed by "heavy vehicles" and two had an "excessive" number of bullet wounds.

Adly’s testimony coincides with that of many survivors of the October 9 massacre amply documented in the many videos posted on the Internet (see for example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0y77M-FjHk&NR=1&skipcontrinter=1;
http://www.light-dark.net/vb/showthread.php?t=6804;
http://www.light-dark.net/vb/showthread.php?p=7917 # post7917).

In these images it is evident that the soldiers fired on an unarmed crowd. Just as it is clear that the armored vehicles deliberately mowed down defenseless protesters.

There is a blatant attempt, in Egypt and in the world, to hide the truth. Just one example: Daniel Mina, a Christian who was also a leader of the "Arab Spring" in Tahrir Square, was killed June 9 by gunfire and then crushed by an armored car. But his medical certificate does not say anything about the cause of his death.

The most powerful body behind these attempts to wipe out what happened on October 9 is the military. Two days ago at a press conference, the army rejected all the accusations against it. Showing reporters videos and photos, the two generals Adel Emara and Mahmoud Hegazy, claimed the soldiers had no live ammunition and that the armored cars that were trying to avoid the crowds by all means, who instead were throwing Molotov cocktails and stones.

At this attempt to wipe out the truth and deny justice the Orthodox Coptic Pope Shenouda III raised his voice. Meeting with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf yesterday, he reiterated that the Copts demonstration on 9 October, "was peaceful and the protesters had no weapons."

In his catechesis on Wednesday afternoon, two days ago, he reiterated the same idea and said that the carnage of recent days was "without precedent" in the recent history of the Church in Egypt. He himself cited the results of the first autopsies according to which two thirds of the martyrs were killed by gunshot wounds and that the remaining were crushed by military vehicles.

Many Christians and Muslims also wonder why there was a deployment of hundreds of thousands of policemen and soldiers – given that the Copts protest was authorized. This suggests that the head-on collision was intentional, perhaps to delay the elections, perhaps to maintain a state of emergency.

The multitudes of "Arab Spring", but also a large part of the Egyptian population, are becoming increasingly united in their condemnation of the army and its "fascist" methods, worse than under Mubarak. Yet, against all this, there is the scandal announced yesterday: there will only be an investigation into the Maspero massacre and it will be conducted by the military.

The army’s excuse is that there were armed violent elements among the protesters who started fighting with police. The Minister for Justice, Mohamed El-Guindy, said that interrogations of the arrested protesters have already begun and that the accused will be judged not by a civil court, but the military court.

The Coptic organizations in Europe, in a statement sent to AsiaNews, condemn the "triumph of shame" of the Egyptian army. They point their finger towards the Information Minister, Osama Heikal and the media which is subservient to him, who have launched a campaign against the Copts that were "killing" the army and Egypt.

The West seems to have totally distanced itself from Egypt. Under the weight of the Euro crisis, the EU limited itself to a generic condemnation of the violence and call for more respect for the rights of minorities, with the White House even espousing the theory of the Egyptian army. President Obama, deplored the "tragic loss of life among the demonstrators and security forces," adding that "it is time for restraint on both sides."

So the demands of democracy, press freedom, equal rights for Christians and Muslims - the heart of the struggles of the Egyptian "Arab Spring" - seem to be fading far away. This democratic vision also includes the right of Christians to build places of worship on a par with Muslims.

Once again, religious freedom is proven to be the key element of human rights. The Copts demonstration - also supported by many Muslims – was born from their demand for the right to build a church in Aswan, which was destroyed by the fundamentalists, backed by the local governor (a former general). Its tragic conclusion has laid bare the many human rights denied to the Egyptian population.

Some Coptic organizations have sent us some photos on the terrible slaughter of their brothers in faith, asking us to publish them. With some hesitation and with a strong dose of caution we have decided to publish them. "The blood of the martyrs - Shenouda III said at the funeral of some victims – does not come cheap": it is the enormous price that the Egyptians are paying for the dictatorship of their leaders and the shallowness of the West. Until justice is done by those slaughtered in Maspero, there will be no justice for Egypt.


WARNING: The images presented here are very harsh and could upset sensitive viewers. To see the images click here.

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See also
07/19/2011 EGYPT
Army slowing reforms to sink revolution
06/23/2011 ISLAM
An "ambiguous" Arab Spring and a "squalid" West
by Bernardo Cervellera
07/28/2011 EGYPT
Minya: young pregnant Coptic woman attacked by a Muslim man over Coptic church bell
07/29/2011 EGYPT
Tens of thousands of people in Tahrir Square to protect Egypt’s Arab and Islamic identity
04/30/2013 TUNISIA
Two years after the 'Jasmine Revolution', a young unemployed man sets himself on fire

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pp. 176
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