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11 October 2013
A confrontation between police and unarmed protesters.
Police fire into the air.
Fifty demonstrators are killed.
A commonplace of political struggles around the world.
Something of the kind appears to have occurred last Sunday 6 October 2013 in Cairo.
Supporters of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood – whose leader, Mohamed Morsi, the democratically elected President of Egypt, was toppled in a military coup on 3 July 2013 – were prevented by security forces from getting into Tahrir Square to protest against the putsch.
According to our hopefully-accurate recollection of a report in the French daily Le Monde – in an article on which, unfortunately, we cannot now lay our hands – the security forces are said to have fired into the air to intimidate the protesters.
Subsequently, on 8 October Le Monde, citing the Egyptian health ministry, said that 45 people had been killed in the disturbances, none of them policemen. A report in the London Guardian on 10 October put the number killed at 57.
This puzzles us.
The police fire into the air – and substantial numbers of people are killed.
Did those killed suddenly develop wings – at a speed of evolution that would have undoubtedly surprised Charles Darwin – fly up into the sky and, by an unfortunate quirk of fate, find themselves precisely at that moment in the path of the bullets fired into the air by the police?
What other explanation could there be?
As we said above, incidents of this kind are commonly reported in conflicts between demonstrators and the forces of order.
Surely, given its frequency, some research should be done to try and find an explanation of this extraordinary phenomenon?
We should add, for completeness, that the intelligence that police fired into the air invariably comes from sources close to the police.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.