Khaled El-Sherbiny’s Testimony
In the Name of God.
I swear by Almighty God that everything written here is based on my presence on the scene and not based on reports or hearsay.
It started as a peaceful march of Copts and some Muslims from Shubra to Maspero to protest the Aswan church incident. I read on Twitter from some trusted sources that shots were being fired to disperse the demonstrators, so I decided to go and see for myself.
I arrived by car in Ramses and walked from there. While I was on the way, news and rumours were multiplying about casualties and deaths. But what I found when I arrived at Abdel-Moneim Riad was beyond belief.
A group of armed thugs demanded my name, one of them saying, “We will kill any Christian here.” They were standing among soldiers of the Military Police and the Central Security Forces.
I tried to treat some of the injured, but the medical supplies I had on me were too basic, just some stuff I got from one of the doctors who was there in Tahrir.
So I tweeted the following: “I deadly need medical supplies .. at ramsis ..I’m a clinical pharmacist .. call me 010******”
Thanks to God’s mercy and the efforts of some brothers, I received enough medical supplies to set up a field hospital, but the biggest problem was lack of a place, because of ongoing scuffles around me and stones being thrown from both sides.
Anyway, I got onto the 6th of October Bridge amid a barrage of tear gas bombs and stones being thrown from below. I descended the pedestrian stairs on the other side, and said my final prayers.
Whenever I witnessed the break-up of protests before, I’d be afraid of being beaten or arrested. This time I was afraidof losing my life.
In front of Maspero there were about 200 military police, and it was fairly calm (I got there late).
All I saw were a burning armoured vehicle and some burnt cars, so I went into the backstreets behind Maspero to see what was happening there.
I can’t find words to describe what I saw there, except massacre… or genocide, with loud screams and the smell of tear gas.
The Copts (men, women, children and elders) was being beaten by thugs…no not beaten, annihilated.
In short, anyone who was carrying a cross was brutally attacked with knives and rods.
I tried, with a friend who was accompanying me, to help Christians get away, and we did succeed in helping a few escape and in moving some of the injured to Ramses Hilton Hotel and out of danger’s way.
Thugs were breaking the cars parked behind Maspero.
The injuries were serious, most cases resulting from the use of sharp and semi-sharp metal.
Women were being attacked by thugs, some of whom I saw on the day of Abbassya, which means they were mercenaries, but serving whom? Most Christians hid in a garage adjacent to Maspero. Suddenly I heard very loud screams. Thugs had entered the garage.
My friend and I with the help of some decent passers-by carried the injured and took them away from the scene of the crime.
Part II — When I went back to Abdel-Moneim Riad Square to receive the medical supplies mentioned earlier from donors.
There was a demonstration and march chanting “Islamic, Islamic”, and frankly they didn’t look “Islamic” at all. According to one of them: We came to defend the army, because Christians were killing army soldiers. I asked, where did you get that from? He answered, from TV.
At first, the army was in collusion with them – yes, collusion – meaning they did not try to disperse them or or attack them. This lasted for about an hour, as my friend and I kept searching for the injured from both sides.
Then suddenly army soldiers attacked us and started chasing everyone and arresting everyone they got to (Muslims and Christians alike). Now both parties became one against the army soldiers and the Central Security Forces. After to-ing and fro-ing in the side streets, I got to Talaat Harb Square, and the battle started between the two sides with stones and tear gas.
At this point the chants thundered: Muslims and Christians are one hand!
Part III — the Coptic hospital
Since I had put my telephone number on Twitter, I got some SOS messages and they were as follows:
There was a shortage in surgical equipment and medical supplies at the hospital due to the high number of injuries.
No bags of blood at the hospital, nor the ability to receive blood donations since there were no empty bags.
Demerdash Hospital refusing to receive some of the injured (unconfirmed).
A shortage in doctors and nurses.
So I headed to the hospital.
Inside the hospital: Overcrowding at the reception. Some volunteers are giving the wounded first aid on the stairs. I left the remaining supplies that I had with them.
One of the surgeons on duty told me, “Please try to get me blood bags. I don’t even have blood bags.”
A friend called to say that curfew was being imposed in Tahrir and Maspero and surrounding areas. So I quickly headed home.
Thus ends my testimony of that bloody day.
But before I finish I would like to add something: I don’t see what happened as sectarian violence. This was planned annihilation, and God only knows who was behind it.
Dear God, have mercy on the souls of the martyrs of that day, give patience and strength to their families, and heal all those who were injured.
Here’s a link to an article written by a german journalist after interviewing me. http://gennies.blog.de/2011/10/11/divide-and-rule-12001705/
First published on 12 October at 03:53am on my Facebook page under the title “my testimony of 9 October (the Maspero massacre).”(in Arabic)
translated by Shereen Zaky.