On Friday 18 November 2011 the MB and Salafis called for a march to Tahrir to proclaim the revolution as an Islamic revolution. The black flags of Al Qaeda were flown, as well as the green ones of Saudi, and that of Palestine. Missing from all that was the Egyptian flag. It was dubbed the Friday of Kandahar. This display greatly provoked the rest of the population that surged back into Tahrir to try to wipe out the bad taste of such “terrorist” displays trying to take over their own revolution. It was a preview of things to come. The following week was one of the bloodiest in the history of the revolution.
This was considered the second wave of the revolution of January 25, 2011, after which none of the people’s demands were met, on the contrary violent oppression was the rule.
The police’s brutality in dealing with the demonstrators who were armed only with stones and fireworks, was legendary. The number of casualties was in the hundreds and the injured in the thousands. Not only was it obvious that physical liquidation of the demonstrators was the aim, but the demolition and repeated attacks on the field hospitals was a very prominent feature of that massacre.
It lasted a full week, after which there were very strong condemnations by local and international Human Rights organizations, and after which the UK banned export of any deterrents to the Egyptian Government to be used against the people. It appeared that some gas that is used in war, and that not even sanctioned by the international community, was used during that week. It was a real massacre in both proportion and violence, and that for the second month running after the one in Maspero the previous month.
This went a long way towards spoiling the already sour relationship with the police force. Especially galling was the fact that many a young revolutionist was deliberately blinded by a police sniper dubbed the “Eye Sniper”. He was caught on tape and his picture plastered all over the Internet when he was shooting at some demonstrators and catching someone in the eye. The cheering on of his men, and the comment of one in particular, became notorious for its brutality and callousness.
The situation was deteriorating very badly all over the country and SCAF was scrambling trying to keep their heads above water.
A group of 19 elderly officers who had not had a war in three decades, whose business enterprises were flourishing and who would have been quite content to keep the status quo with Mubarak and retire peacefully with their fortunes intact. But with Mubarak handing over the reins of government to them, they were put on the spot. No experience in handling civil affairs, they were easy prey to the MB who convinced them that this was their forte and that they have been a shadow government for eighty years. So with relief they relinquished the actual reins to them. This was not known to the general public until much later, until after Morsi took over. But there were a few indications very early on like the inclusion of outright MB members, or sympathizers, in the committee formed to amend the Constitution in March 2011. This tug of war over the rule of Egypt was to culminate on 12 August 2012 when Morsi retired Tantawy and Enan. But that is for a later date.
This second massacre left deep wounds in the Egyptian psyche, for it cemented the fact that people in uniform, even though they were Egyptians, were now considered the enemy. This chasm would take a far larger tragedy to dissolve it and for all Egyptians to unite again in one cohesive whole.
Continued … Interim Rule by SCAF – Port Said