Wednesday, Feb 02, 2011 - 11:43pm
Tahrir sq. - A Nightmare
Paid thugs of the Mubarak regime were allowed for hours to attack the peaceful demonstrators at Al Tahrir while the regime just looked on. The world will never forget what it witnessed today, Mr. President!
Just how wrong can you get? Only 20 hrs. ago I wrote on Facebook:
"People in Cairo still not reachable as internet and cell phones are blocked. But am not worried. Vids look great and calm and the day will come again... Soon. I am confident."
And now we have had a nightmare for hrs. on Tahrir sq. with peaceful demonstrators having been attacked by thousands of gov. paid thugs and secret police in civilian clothes leaving at least three dead and more than 600 injured!
Yes, the internet did come back this morning to Egypt and all were triumphant. But one should have known that that was a deliberate move by the Mubarak gov. wanting the world to see the chaos erupting at Tahrir sq. just two hrs. later. The motto we all were supposed to get was clear: „Without me - Mubarak - chaos reigns in Egypt!“ – Well that is wrong Mr. President! The truth of today reads: BECAUSE of you - Mubarak - chaos reigns in Egypt!
Around 1:20 p.m. the first twitter came from Tahrir sq. telling of armed thugs trying to enter and attacking the peaceful demonstrators. I logged into Al Jazeera live and looked in shock as eight men on horses and one on a camel barged onto the sq. beating demonstrators with sticks before being pulled down and stopped. Only seconds later first hundreds, then at least 2000 pro-Mubarak thugs with sticks and stones tried to enter the sq. from just behind the Egyptian Museum having crossed the Nile bridge without having been stopped by the military, although the weapons could clearly be seen!
What then happened was unbearable. For hours on end they tried to storm the sq, pushing in, getting pushed back by the anti-gov demonstrators (protecting the sq. holding thousands of peaceful people - including woman and children!) The attackers chanting pro-Mubarak slogans beat up any demonstrator they could get hold of, they threw rocks at them by the hundreds. A correspondent reporting life from the sq. at one point said: „There are so many stones thrown at the moment at the peaceful crowd here - it is like the sky is full of birds! I would estimate about 30 - 40 stones per second at the moment!“ - And then the thugs climbed onto the rooftops of buildings and started hurling anything they could get at the peaceful demonstrators 6 to 10 stories below! Satellite dishes, chairs, crates, stones - anything that could kill people down in the street.
Naturally that took its toll. Constantly people were hurt with blood running all over them and had to be carried away. And no ambulances send, no medical aid - the gov. did NOTHING. It just left the victims of these gruesome attacks alone!
The few soldiers with their tanks just looked on. Asked, why they did nothing to stop the brutal attacks, they said, they had „no order“. Period.
No additional army was brought in, no police - nothing. The Mubarak gov. just let it happen for hrs. in front of the eyes of the world - peaceful demonstrators being beaten and battered by paid thugs. Some were overpowered and strip searched. It turned out they had ID cards as secret police officers. The ID cards were held into the cameras. You could see it was Mubaraks feared secret police operating here. Others were held and asked why they participated. They said they were working for gov. companies and had been forced to take part in the riot. Some even told of getting 50 Egyptian Pounds if they partake! It was all organized and orchestrated by the Mubarak regime to crush the peaceful demonstrations of the last days!
What a nasty trick indeed. The world had said to Mubarak: No Tiananmen in Cairo! Don‘t use the army against the people! So what did Mubarak do? He employed his hated secret police - the black clothes - put them in civil clothes to hide their identity and let them do the dirty work. - So did the military go against the people like at Tiananmen? No. - Fact is: It did not go against anyone, not even the brutal thugs! And so cleverly avoided any images that could bring back memories of the Tiananmen massacre. The people got beaten up, even killed, but no army could be seen being involved. What a clever rotten plan of a despotic regime! As a correspondent remarked during the afternoon: „We are just minutes away from the Ministry of the Interior - and anarchy is allowed to happen in the middle of Cairo!“ - And no intention involved? You must be kidding.
Now night has fallen. The exits of Tahrir sq. are barred by the thugs continuing to throw molotov cocktails and petrol bombs at the peaceful demonstrators. Eyewitnesses say they cannot get out because they fear for their safety. The army suddenly issued a statement demanding everyone to leave the sq. But they did not demand of the thugs to stop their attacks when they did so for hrs.! And they are still not stopping them!
A few ambulances are finally making their way in trying to pick up the injured who have been sheltered at a makeshift medical center. Many in critical condition have to be transported by private cars to hospitals, as ambulances are lacking badly. It takes them forever to reach the hospitals because they are being held up again and again at army control posts demanding their IDs, their drivers licenses etc. What a nightmare indeed.
The Ministry of Health has so far reported one dead and 611 injured. The Al Jazeera Reporter has himself seen three dead and estimated more than 1000 injured! Because paid villains with sticks, rocks, knives, molotov cocktails and petrol bombs were for hours (!) allowed to attack innocent people right in the middle of Cairo with no police, no army intervening and trying to stop these criminal acts. That in itself is a criminal act by the regime. The real thugs are sitting in the presidential palace!
It has been a horrible day for a peaceful solution in Egypt. The injuries - the killings - all was done on purpose, with the intent of injuring and killing. What will all this mean for tomorrow? What for Friday? And what for the future of Egypt?
20 hrs. ago I was not worried, everything was calm. How wrong can you get?! Now I am fearing for people I know and cannot reach. Are they hurt? Are they dead?
One thing Mubarak and his villains in the police and army must know - thanks to live coverage the whole world has watched the murderous nightmare that happened today at Tahrir sq. And the world will not forget what it has witnessed! Never!
Leave, Mubarak. Leave NOW!
UPDATE Feb 03
The attacks have continued through the night with shots being fired at the peaceful demonstrators. - The Ministry of Health now confirms five killed and 836 injured!
The Guardian blog reports at 8:40am
"Eyewitnesses who spent the night in Tahrir said there were major shooting incidents at 11pm and 4am local time, the latter involving a sniper equipped with a laser sight. Seven protesters were reported to be confirmed dead at a nearby makeshift medical centre, with three other bodies still unrecovered.
"We had over a thousand injured through the night, including several dead from gunshots," said Dr Dr Ibrahim Fata, a professor of surgery and one of more than 70 doctors who have volunteered to help treat those injured at the square. "It's like a war situation in here...“
The Ministry of Health now confirms 13 people killed last night and more than 1.200 injured. From a hospital via tweet comes the number of 35 people killed. – Whatever the number. They were innocent, unarmed people shot in the head by snipers.
UPDATE Feb 06
The UN says more than 300 killed. And the Ministry of Health now admits to more than 5.000 injured.
Egypt remembers the dead
UPDATE Feb 11 - 7:08pm
Only nine days after the 'bloody Wednesday' the Egyptian people have won. "Leave, leave" they chanted for days on end and the hated dictator today finally has resigned, his henchmen Soliman is out of power and the people are dancing and singing on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and all over Egypt. After the fall of the Berlin Wall this no doubt is the second major historical change to witness in the world since the last decades. And the world is elated. Where the dreaded regime only last week showed ruthless brutality, the Egyptian people have won the battle with an undeterred will for non-violence. If anything, Egypt has shown to the whole world what powers lie in a peaceful revolution - and that it can be done, if you want it to happen. Congratulations Egypt! You must be the proudest people in the world tonight.
UPDATE Feb 16
The Minister of Health has acknowledged on State TV that 365 people were killed in the unrests and more than 5.500 were injured. Regarding the dead that is 352 more killed than the government was willing to admit prior to the ousting of Mubarak.
UPDATE Feb 27
The number of people killed in the uprising is now established to be 527.
What an unbelievable high price for winning freedom.
For Tahrir, for Egypt - a powerful poem by Nancy Messieh capturing the spirit and the essence of Tahrir sq. and its remarkable peace-defending protesters.