I knew the overthrown regime was ruthless and brutal, but if the following is true, then I have no words to describe so much evil. It is beyond my comprehension to digest this lack of humanity.
Robert Fisk in his article ‘As Mubarak clings on… What now for Egypt?’, published in The Independent on Friday, 11 February 2011, states that the Army received direct orders to shoot at the protesters in Tahrir. According to his account, the soldiers on the ground refused to follow orders. However, Fisk did not state any sources for his claims, so I started researching his statement. Fortunately, or more so unfortunately, I stumbled upon a piece of footage that supports his claims. Below I am quoting Robert Fisk followed by the footage, which I have translated into English in the transcript thereafter.
Last night, a military officer guarding the tens of thousands celebrating in Cairo threw down his rifle and joined the demonstrators, yet another sign of the ordinary Egyptian soldier’s growing sympathy for the democracy demonstrators. We had witnessed many similar sentiments from the army over the past two weeks. But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.
Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.
Footage of an interview made with one of the soldiers in Tahrir on Saturday, 29 January 2011, posted on YouTube by lastnight80 on Wednesday, 2 February 2011.
Were there orders to shoot today?
Soldier: There were orders this morning and we refused to follow.
To shoot at the protesters?
Soldier: To shoot at these people.
With live ammunition?
Soldier: With our artillery and these tankers.
An what happened?
Soldier: We don’t hit the people. We are the people. No one would hit their brother and father.
(In the background someone starts shouting out hero, hero)
Did you receive your orders to shoot from the Presidential line or from the Army line?
Soldier: It came from the Presidential line.
From the Presidency?
(Then the chants break out)
Whether there were orders to shoot or not to shoot, this remains the question.