The contrast is noteworthy. This is what the army said this time:
“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) presents its regrets and deep apologies for the deaths of martyrs from among Egypt’s loyal sons during the recent events in Tahrir Square,”
Compare that to the Orwellian-grade cover-up of the Maspero massacre of October 9, which has seen the military take over the investigation — appointing itself to “investigate” its own massacre — from a civilian prosecutor. Apology? Not a chance. They blamed infiltrators and saboteurs for the incident, and they have threatened at least 34 Copts with prosecution, even hauling in priests in for interrogation.
The difference shows all the more that the army could care less about the Christian minority, and knows it can beat on the Christians with impunity, without consequences from inside Egypt, and apparently without much outside accountability from other powers that send Egypt aid.
But there is another reason for the difference: the army has nothing to be afraid of from the Copts (despite broadcasters’ pleas to Egyptians to “protect” the army from them on the night of the massacre). This round of protests, on the other hand, threatens to be the “revolution after the revolution,” and this time, the military is in the crosshairs, rather than Mubarak.
Diminishing the power of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, deplorable as the group is, will only make room for the remaining organized bloc of power, the Muslim Brotherhood. The military is busily trying to carve out a secure future for itself with a comfortable level of immunity, with one eye on its overlords-in-waiting, who will have some scores to settle.
“Egypt vote to go on as military apologises,” by Simon Martelli for Agence France-Presse, November 24:
Egypt’s military rulers apologised on Thursday for the deaths of demonstrators at the hands of police, while insisting elections will go ahead next week as planned.
“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) presents its regrets and deep apologies for the deaths of martyrs from among Egypt’s loyal sons during the recent events in Tahrir Square,” it said in a statement on its Facebook page.
There were still large crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Thursday, scene of days of deadly clashes between security forces and protesters demanding an immediate end of military rule, but the mood was calm after a truce negotiated by Muslim clerics.
“An agreement has been reached between security forces and protesters to halt confrontations between the two sides,” Egypt’s cabinet said in a statement on Facebook.
At least 38 protesters have been killed since Saturday — when the clashes first erupted — and more than 2,000 injured, prompting expressions of concern from Western governments and a UN call for an independent inquiry into the “excessive use of force.”
The demonstrators have been demanding the military leadership step down immediately and allow a return to civilian rule.
But the military council said on Thursday that doing so would amount to a “betrayal” of the people.
“The people have entrusted us with a mission and if we abandon it now, it would be a betrayal of the people,” senior SCAF member General Mukthar al-Mulla told a news conference.
“The armed forces do not want to stay in power. We want to put the wishes of the people above all else,” he said, adding that since the start of the transitional period it had been the army’s “first objective” to restore security on the Egyptian streets.
“We will not delay the elections,” said another senior SCAF member, Major General Mamduh Shahine. “This is the final word. They will be conducted according to the original dates.”
Egyptians are set to vote on Monday in the first legislative elections since Hosni Mubarak was ousted, but the violence has cast a dark shadow over the country’s first step to democratic rule.