Hundreds of Egyptian Americans and their various supporters had barely turned the corner of Fifteenth Street, NW onto K Street in downtown Washington, DC last Thursday, August 22, before Washington Post writers published an account of the demonstration that had just taken place outside their doors. As Post staff began to recover from the trauma of their lockdown, looking through the windows and doors at signs uncomplimentary to both themselves and their beloved President, and of hearing themselves be described in chants as “supporting terrorists,” the protest moved uptown, with the end goal of the office of the military attaché at the Egyptian Embassy.
In their account, posted at 3:38 p.m., Post writers Max Fisher and Peter Hermann revealed that the newspaper building’s main lobby had been “shut down and no one was allowed in or out” during the protest. Why, one would have thought that the Muslim Brotherhood was marching on Washington! Oh wait, if that had been the case, The Washington Post would have invited them in for a cup of tea after their meeting with President Obama. At least the writers admitted that the protestors were peaceful as they chanted and waved signs.
The demonstration was organized by the national Coptic Solidarity organization to protest what they see as the Obama Administration’s and Republicans like Senators McCain and Graham’s blatant bias towards the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Demonstrators also came to be a witness to the world, and particularly to Americans, of the persecution of Egyptian Christians. And they wanted to set the record straight about this persecution – the burnings of churches, convents, schools, Christians’ homes and shops, and the killing of Christians by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists in Egypt. These are deliberate acts of jihad by Islamist supremacists, not random acts of violence by a disgruntled political party.
Christian and Muslim Egyptian Americans arrived at Lafayette Park, the prime protest location in front of The White House, close to noon, in over thirty buses. As each bus let out its passengers – men, women, and children – some that had left at the crack of dawn from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, and North Carolina, they quickly outnumbered any other protest taking place in the coveted arena, including a dozen or so anti-fracking demonstrators.
Such buses will soon be able to set their automatic pilot for Washington, DC. In April, before the “People’s Coup” of July, when millions of Egyptians brought about the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, the buses had rolled into town and a demonstration had begun in that very same spot and ended at the U.S. Capitol. They also came to Washington in October 2011, after the horrific massacre at Maspero. Coptic Solidarity promises that there will be more demonstrations.
This time, the feeling of the protestors and the message of their signs was even more urgent. Like their fellow Copts in Egypt, and like all Egyptians who supported the People’s Coup, the Egyptian Americans now look to the Egyptian Army and General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi as the defenders of Egypt. They are outraged that the U.S. government continues to defend the Muslim Brotherhood and to insist that all of the Islamists should be included in the “democratic process” when these groups are perpetrating such evil in Egypt.
In addition to burning over 82 churches and other Christian institutions and schools, the Morsi-supporters have also burned Christian homes and businesses and killed many individual Christians, including a ten-year-old girl leaving Bible study, and the shooting of a Coptic priest and the beheading of another Christian in Sinai. The Brotherhood has also tortured and killed members of the police and armed forces. Egyptians are shocked that the U.S. would now consider stopping aid to Egypt, at a time when they finally have an opportunity to achieve true democracy and religious freedom, and rout out these terrorists.
After a demonstration that included chanting slogans condemning President Obama’s foreign policy, particularly his support for the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and his lack of support for General Sissi, the group moved on to The Washington Post. Egyptians are frustrated with the mainstream media in the West. The media, they believe, is simply parroting the talking points of the State Department and The White House. All of this was reflected in their signs, and was confirmed by The Washington Post itself in their breathless post-lockdown story.
Referring to signs such as “Respect the voices of 30 million Egyptians” and “When 33 million protest, it is not a coup!” denying that the takeover from Morsi was a coup, the Post writers downplayed these numbers. “While the number was surely lower than this, gatherings on June 30 and after are thought to have numbered in the hundreds of thousands and perhaps beyond,” they said.
The reporters quoted Salwa El-Gebaly of Gaithersburg, Maryland, who declared that “Egypt is doing the entire world a favor by getting rid of the extremists.” She had “argued” that “in time, the world would learn that the hundreds of deaths attributed to the recent government crackdown of pro-Morsi sit-ins were in fact caused by Muslim Brotherhood ‘executions,’” they continued, and said that “she, like others, expressed unhappiness for the violence in Egypt but said that the Brotherhood, and not Sissi or the military, was to blame.”
The journalists at the Post seemed shocked, shocked that the demonstrators “accused President Obama of directly funding the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization from which Morsi hails.” They noted that the Muslim Brotherhood “has seen hundreds of supporters killed or arrested in state security crackdowns this month.”
“Many of the signs at today’s protest argued that the Brotherhood is a part of al-Qaeda and that Obama’s support for the Brotherhood is equivalent to funding terrorism,” the Post writers mused, as if this was the first time it had ever occurred to them. “Although the U.S. has been at pains to maintain neutrality in Egypt’s deepening social and political divisions, it has been accused by both sides of secretly supporting the other,” their piece confessed. Actually, it seems more as if The Washington Post and other media have been at pains to maintain the impression that the U.S. has been at pains to maintain neutrality in Egypt’s divisions, when the truth is obvious to 33 million Egyptians.
The Post article closed by describing how one protestor carrying a poster of General Sissi sought to make eye contact with all of journalists watching from inside the building. “Whenever someone would acknowledge him, he’d smile, hold the poster next to his face and give a big thumbs-up for Sissi,” says the Post. In this closing incident, as throughout the article, the Post writers focused on the political aspect of the protest and not the other key reason why the demonstrators had come. The article omitted reference to the many, many photos of burned churches and of the faces of those killed – now joining Egypt’s long list of martyrs.
The Post did not even mention the striking model of a church – blackened with smoke and stained red – representing the dozens of churches burned, and the blood of Egyptian Christians killed, by the Muslim Brotherhood and by various other Islamists over recent years and over the centuries. The model church was carried lovingly in front of the lock-down crowd by two young men. It was on a platform with poles that rested on the young men’s shoulders in a way that called to mind the manner in which the priests of Israel are described in the Bible as carrying the Ark of the Covenant.
In what could possibly be construed as Divine coincidence or even Divine reassurance, a small lad carrying his own sign stood close to the church-bearers. His poster was a photograph of boys about his own age praying inside the scorched wreckage of an Egyptian church. The sign declared, “You can burn down our churches, but you can never touch our faith.” This is the true witness of the Copts’ march on Washington.
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