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Video Analysis of Maspero: Part Four

For the Introduction, please click here. For Part One, click here. For Part Two, click here. For Part Three, click here.

Media Coverage

Video Twenty-Three: Live Testimony from Injured Soldiers in Maspero (Two minutes)

Early on during the events of Maspero, State TV aired an interview with injured soldiers. It appears that the audio testimony does not match the lips of those speaking, but it is unclear if this is only from a delay in transmission. The news banner reads, ‘Scenes revealing the injured among the armed forces who have been transferred to the medical care room in Maspero.’

0:01        Soldier sitting on hospital bed, coughing

0:20        A man in civilian clothes is pictured lying down on bed, pants sprinkled with what appears to be blood

0:22        He says Christians threw stones gathered from the Maspero building and fired bullets at the soldiers, he went to help an officer and took a tissue and money from his pocket, when a Christian twisted his arm and took the money

0:50        First soldier says his colleague died right next to him, Christians hit them with stones and live gunfire, even though they were there to protect them, they were standing there talking to the Christians and then they attacked us off guard, Christians are ‘sons of dogs’


Video Twenty-Four: Revealing the Truth about the Copts on October 9 (Three minutes)

Another State TV feed from the same room showing injured soldiers, this video is a fuller treatment that begins slightly before the previous. It has similar issues with matching audio to soldier’s lips. It appears there are three soldiers in hospital beds. The news banner reads, ‘One martyr and twenty injured after Coptic protestors open fire on them at Maspero.’

0:10        Two soldiers videoed sitting quietly on the ground, they wave the camera away and cover their faces

0:22        As the camera moves, there appears to be a soldier lying in a bed to the left of the soldier described above who was sprinkled in blood

0:23        Camera pans to the left of the soldiers lying on hospital beds, showing a room full of soldiers and doctors

0:31        Some are attending to a soldier sitting in a wheelchair and treating his leg

0:50        This soldier is carried to the hospital bed, is treated by doctors, and sits up coughing to match the beginning of video twenty-three above

1:27        Video cuts and shifts to the soldier sprinkled in blood, same interview as above

2:05        Camera moves to the left to the soldier in a bed next to the one sprinkled in blood, same interview as above


Video Twenty-Five: Meeting the Injured Soldiers from the Armed Forces in front of Maspero, Watch what they say about Copts, and a word from Gen. Hamdī Badīn (Three minutes)

This video feed is from al-Hayat TV, a private station, apparently from within the same medical room at the Maspero building. The scene is much calmer as are the statements from injured soldiers, who do not appear to be the same ones speaking earlier.

0:19        Interview with soldier lying on hospital bed with a patch under his left eye; states they were standing at the Maspero building when the other march arrived, which attacked them with rocks, glass, Molotovs, and live ammunition, I tried to help my friend and took him to the 6th floor, but he died

0:55        Interview with another soldier lying in a hospital bed; there were about six hundred people at Maspero, crossing over the street when the march arrived, they joined together and attacked us with rocks and glass, and we had no orders to interact with them, a few soldiers died and we’re in the hospital, but praise God

1:45        Interview with another soldier, with a patch stretching from between his eyes, over his nose, and onto his cheek; says they were standing at Maspero but had orders to withdraw, drove the APCs in circles around the area, but people attacked us with gas and we couldn’t breathe and my eyes started to tear, we got down and then they surrounded us and beat us

2:28        Interview with another soldier on a hospital bed; says they were there protecting the demonstrators but then they came with Molotovs in a truck and began attacking us with machine guns, and I was shot in the back

2:45        Gen. Hamdī Badīn visits the injured soldiers, says what happened was an effort of someone to divide our one nation into Muslim and Christian, or this place and that place, to make us weaker, what each of you have suffered should be considered a medal on your chest


Video Twenty-Six: Violent Clashes between Security Forces and Coptic Protestors (Ten minutes)

This video is taken directly from State TV as the events unfolded.  It is an eerie broadcast with long periods of silence. The news banner states, ‘Breaking: Protesting Copts in front of the Maspero Building Block the Cornish Road.’

0:10        Traces the origin of events to the troubles of the church in Marīnāb

0:20        Announcer states there were warning shots from the military police to evacuate the demonstration which developed into acts of rioting

0:50        Says the protestors blocked the Cornish Road completely

1:15        States the protest began peacefully with chants and slogans for their demands but developed quickly into clashes between the demonstrator and the armed forces

1:40        Introduces Emad Gad, a Coptic researcher from the Ahram Center for Strategic Studies

1:50        Gad states what happened is a crime of which Gen. Tantawi and the military council is responsible, for I have seen how the APCs were driving through the crowds and running them over; the demonstrators were not armed, but were run over and shot with live ammunition, whoever did this should be tried and held accountable as a crime against humanity

2:40        In response the announcer says that events developed into clashes and throwing stones and Molotovs after beginning peacefully, Gad replies it developed so because of the army!

3:12        A whisper is heard, but it is inaudible

3:30        A voice whispers ‘Cut, cut’

3:40        Announcer acknowledges Gad’s anger but cuts him off from continuing, thanking him for his comments

3:50        Recaps events in which Coptic demands over Marinab concerning a guesthouse which is alleged to be the Church of St. George, and for a unified law for building houses of worship descended into clashes with the burning of military vehicles

4:50        Period of silence from the announcer

5:08        Begins recapping events again, saying some Copts threw stones at the army and police who were guarding the Maspero Building, the escalation began when they blocked the Cornish Road completely

6:55        Another period of silence

7:15        Announces that several fire trucks have arrived to put out the fires

7:35        Time is shown on screen as 6:55pm, and the news banner changes to ‘Coptic protestors in front of the Maspero Building throw stones at the army and police assigned to guard it’

8:00        Silence continues until the introduction of ‘Alī Jum‘ah, a villager from Marīnāb and eyewitness to the events there

8:25        Jum‘ah is not there, so announcer repeats the basic news story

9:00        Jum‘ah gets reconnected, is asked his opinion about what is taking place, and whether or not Marinab warrants all this escalation

9:20        Jum‘ah answers that Marinab Muslims and Christians are currently living in complete peace and security, we are negotiating things and there is nothing to warrant what is taking place here

9:50        Announcer asks his reaction to what he sees on the screen of throwing rocks at the army and burning vehicles, he answers we live in peace but the video ends before he finishes speaking


Video Twenty-Seven: Storming the January 25 TV Channel and Cutting their Broadcast of Covering the Demonstrations (One minute)

This video is taken from the live feed of the January 25 TV station with offices in the Maspero area. It opens with a woman screaming and several voices in the background. It was stated the army entered to search for demonstrators hiding in the offices. As it turns out, they were, but were not found. The video on screen is from an elevated position down onto the empty Cornish, with cars driving through at night. It also says the transmission is ‘live’. The banner states, ‘Gen. Sāmih Sayf al-Yazl, security expert’, presumably the guest at the time the offices were entered.

0:15        Someone says, ‘There is no one here’

0:25        Woman whimpers terrified and continues amidst background chatter

1:05        Silence, until a voice (the woman’s?) says that’s enough everyone, the silence then continues until the end


Video Twenty-Eight: The Moment the Headquarters of al-Hurra TV Station were Stormed (Fifteen minutes)

Again, video feed is taken directly from the station’s broadcast, transmitted from the Maspero area. In a similar set-up, the army entered searching for demonstrators. Before the entry al-Hurra had two screens, one of which was a live transmission of events, the other providing the feed from State TV. The announcer maintains his nerve impressively. The news banner reads, ‘Breaking News: Cairo clashes: Injuries suffered in violent confrontations between Coptic demonstrators and security forces

0:17        Live video from al-Hurra cameras switches to generic feed from Cairo streets

0:18        News banner adjusted to read, ‘State TV: Tens injured in confrontations between Coptic demonstrators and security forces’

0:20        Announcer states individuals from the army have entered the studio

0:33        Announcer tells people in studio (presumably army), we are on air, and, I’m Egyptian!

0:43        Announcer raises his voice as tension rises in the studio

0:53        Video feed switches to al-Hurra’s live broadcast only

1:00        Video switches to announcer who states the soldiers are in the studio, raising their weapons, searching for demonstrators

1:20        Tries to calm the situation down and tells the soldiers to search the studio as they wish

2:55        Announcer spent time trying to regain composure and update viewers on proceedings; news banner changes, ‘Individuals from the Egyptian army storm the al-Hurra studio’

3:23        Announcer continues the conversation with the previous telephone guest

3:40        Video feed switches to that of State TV, time shown on bottom as 7:57pm as news scroll begins

4:42        News banner adds the following, ‘…searching for demonstrators’

6:27        News banner now reads, ‘Coptic protestors set fire to Egyptian army vehicles’

6:40        News banner announces, ‘State TV announces the death of a soldier from the army in confrontations with the Copts’

7:05        News banner reads, ‘Tens injured and military vehicles burned in Coptic confrontations with Egyptian security

7:20        News banner reads, ‘Coptic demonstrators in violent confrontations with security forces in front of State TV building’

7:54        Two live feeds restored to the broadcast, al-Hurra’s feed of an onramp with individuals milling about as traffic passes by above

8:12        News banner reads, ‘Heavy gunfire in Coptic demonstrator confrontations with Egyptian security forces

14:14     Phone conversation continues as the news banner recycles the above headlines, then the announcer apologizes saying for security reasons we have to stop, I don’t know if we’re on air or not

14:20     News banner reads, ‘Individuals from the Egyptian army storm the al-Hurra studio’

14:40     Screen goes blank as announcers repeats, we’re on the air?

14:48     Transmission cuts off as the program logo comes on screen, and video ends


Video Twenty-Nine: Egyptian Television Inciting Egyptians against the Copts (Three minutes)

Announcer Rasha Magdy has come under fire for her description of events on State TV. This broadcast is from the independent channel OnTV, owned by Coptic businessman Naguib Sawiris, which was transmitting the State TV feed.

0:06        News banner reads, ‘Breaking: Coptic protestors throw stones and Molotovs at soldiers from above the October bridge, and burn …’ (rest illegible)

0:15        Praises the Egyptian army for its past accomplishments, and how the people stood with it, stating we should be celebrating this spirit from the days following October 6 (a national holiday commemorating the war which liberated Sinai)

0:25        States the events of Maspero show that everything has changed; what is happening to Egypt? In whose interest is this?

0:55        Announces that as of this moment there are at least three martyrs and twenty injured, all of which are from the army’s soldiers – not from the hand of Israel, or of an enemy, but of a group from the children of this country

1:15        This army stood by the revolution, and protected the revolution, refusing to fire on any Egyptian, it is now being fired upon

1:32        Any group from Egyptian society, no matter what their demands or however legitimate, to build a building or not build a building, does it deserve to burn the nation in its entirety?

2:25        May Egypt fear God, may your area fear God, we have endured a lot

2:37        There appears to be a cut in the video, switching to what appears to be Rasha Magdy now reading the official news briefing, but perhaps it is not a splice, as the video maintains continuity

2:38        Three soldiers killed and thirty injured as Coptic demonstrators gathered in front of the Maspero building fire upon them; eyewitnesses confirm that hundreds of Coptic demonstrators, who blocked the Cornish Road, threw stones and Molotovs on the army and police who were assigned to guard the Maspero building; the army and police are attempting to secure the area and disperse the protestors, mounting iron barriers in front of Maspero and locking all the doors to prevent it from being stormed

3:21        Video switches to a talk show on OnTV in which a guest, George Ishak of the Kifāyah movement, accuses Rasha Magdy of inciting viewers against the Copts, especially when she said, ‘May Egypt fear God’


Video Thirty: Surprising Video, for the First Time the State TV Announcer who was Accused of Inciting Against the Copts States on Air the Comedy in Television as Muna al-Shazalī Makes Clear (Fourteen minutes)

Muna al-Shazalī is a talk show host on the channel Dream2. In this episode she hosts a number of prominent Egyptian personalities and conducts a phone interview with Rasha Majdī.

0:37        Magdy states the announcer is the last stage in the operation of news production, there are a number of people who pass on the news, whether written or otherwise, before it reaches me

1:12        I want to confess that what happened was a mistake of the media, it is necessary that if I present one side, I must also present the other, and this did not happen

1:40        In my coverage I said ‘group of people’, not ‘group of Copts’

2:00        That which was written below about the Copts was prepared by the editor, by a certain responsible one

2:20        In response to clarification, Magdy states no one who works in television can take a single step or print any news on the screen without authorization (implied, from the state)

2:40        Yes, there were mistakes, but they were not the mistakes of the editors or the announcers, they were the mistakes of those who manage the matter underneath it all

3:00        We are not newly trained announcers, we know that if you present one side you must present the other

4:53        After restatement from al-Shazalī, Magdy clarifies that the responsible person is in the media production, not the state

5:50        If I go, the problem will remain, it rests with those responsible for media production who leave us lost in our work

6:10        Did you know that this responsible person stated that he is innocent from what was announced? Fine, then state who wrote that news!

6:30        I received the news from MENA (Middle East News Agency, the office news agency of Egypt)

7:10        In answer to a question asking Magdy to demonstrate her innocence from inciting the people, she states, the only thing that I stated in my own words that has been taken as incitement is ‘May Egypt fear God, where are the wise men of Egypt’, but I maintain this statement and it is my right to do so

8:30        In response to words from Emad Gad appreciating what Magdy said, she replies I only stated ‘a group of Egyptians’ since I had no information on what was happening or who was hitting who, I sit in the studio, I have no guests, and I don’t know what happened, when I saw that news was contradictory, I stated ‘a group of people’, when I spoke of the three martyrs from the army, this was the only news that came to me from MENA, and I read it, there was no incitement from me

12:40     After conversation between studio guests, Magdy returns and states she and a number of her colleagues are very frustrated with those who leave the announcer to be responsible for what is stated on the news, don’t blame me when you leave me lost and then say you are the reason for what happened

13:50     Al-Shazalī concludes the phone conversation by stating it is Magdy right to bring a lawsuit against the person who provided her with the news


Video Thirty-One: Middle East News Agency Denies what the Announcer Rasha Magdy Said (Eight minutes)

In this video Ali Hassan, deputy editor-in-chief of MENA, is asked by telephone by a talk show host about the comments of Rasha Magdy, in which she laid blame for her broadcast at the feet of his news agency.

3:00        Announcer asks ‘Alī Hassan, about the news banner which stated Coptic protestors set fire to military vehicles and also fired upon the soldiers

3:23        Hassan answers, MENA did not publish this news, nor does it know anything about it, and Rasha Magdy should bring the evidence she has to prove what she said; furthermore, Magdy is known for a poor reputation from the revolution when she announced there were no demonstrators in Tahrir on January 28


Video Thirty-Two: Families from Septia Support the Army Against Armed Coptic Demonstrators (Two minutes)

Video footage is from al-Arabia channel, at 1:00 the announcer states that families from Septia have come to support the army, and that the army is present among many civilians. The announcer states ‘this is told to me’, but this is presented in place of charges leveled against State TV claiming it asked ‘honorable citizens’ to go to the street to support the army. I was unable to find video evidence of this though it was reported in many outlets. CIDT managing director Hani Labib stated he watched State TV that evening and heard it announced.


Video Thirty-Three: The Program? Bāsim Yūsif: Maspero … Ground of Hypocrisy, Part One (Eleven minutes)

Bāsim Yūsif is a comedic news producer along the lines of John Stewart in the United States on the Daily Show. In this episode he assembles video footage from the media coverage of the event. Of importance here is the footage at 8:45 from State TV in which the announcer makes a correction: ‘Viewers, as a correction to the news we presented recently, one soldier from the armed forces has died a martyr, and not three soldiers, with twenty injured after Coptic protestors fired upon them at the Maspero building’.

Analysis: Taking the statements of the injured soldiers at face value, they provide powerful testimony that Copts were involved in striking the armed forces. It should be noted, though, that none of the soldiers presenting testimony have visible injuries. Regardless of the credibility of their testimony, however, presentation of this footage on State TV could only have had an incendiary effect on events, effectively mobilizing sentiment against the Coptic demonstrators, if not Copts in general – ‘Copts are sons of dogs’. It appears certain that citizens did go to Maspero, though video cannot confirm why.

As for the presentation of Rasha Magdy, in light of her confession afterwards she appears to be innocent of incitement against the Copts. Where it appears she is reading the news, accusation is leveled against the Coptic demonstrators that they killed three soldiers. Her own commentary before this, however, is much more judicious, though still full of shock at what is taking place. Yet she makes clear the official news comes from official sources.

Yet the testimony of ‘Alī Hassan raises more questions. ‘Amr al-Masrī, a journalist in MENA, confirms Hassan’s words, stating that while MENA received word directly from the military council that three soldiers had died, it published no information about Coptic demonstrators being the ones who killed them. If indeed Magdy was reading, then, who gave her that statement?

This makes the later correction all the more confusing. It could be as time passes that corrections are made to increase the number of dead. Yet how is it possible for official news to be mistaken in that two officially martyred soldiers are now alive?

It is impossible to say from video evidence if the entry of the army into the studios of January 25 TV and al-Hurra had any impact on the content of broadcasting. In fact, it has been demonstrated there were protestors hiding out at least in the January 25 offices, justifying the soldiers’ entrance and search. Yet it can be noted that the live video broadcast did change during their presence, and that the news banner underneath became more clear in labeling ‘Coptic demonstrators’ behind the confrontations in a manner consistent with State TV. To note: January 25 TV is understood to be an initiative supported by Islamists, and al-Hurra is understood to be an initiative supported by the United States government.


For the Introduction, please click here. For Part One, click here. For Part Two, click here. For Part Three, click here. To read the entire report in pdf, click here.

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