Exclusive Report from Cairo Correspondent, Robyn Payne: ‘Lifting the Veil of Lies’

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Truth
Noun, plural truths
1. The true or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
2. Conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
3. A verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths.
4. The state or character of being true.
5. Actuality or actual existence.

In·sti·gate
Verb (used with object), -gat·ed, -gat·ing.
1. To cause by incitement; foment: to instigate a quarrel.
2. To urge, provoke, or incite to some action or course: to instigate the people to revolt.

What happened Sunday night in Cairo, Egypt, is confusing, to say the least, to most of the world, as well as those here in Egypt. But my husband put it in plain words when he said to me, “If you are walking down the street and someone comes up and takes your cell phone from your hand and keeps going, what will you do? You will follow him and try to take it back.  Now say that the ‘cell phone’ in question is Egypt and the person holding it is Mubarak, what would he – and those who benefited from his hold on this country – not do to try to get back what they consider ‘theirs’?”

This is the big picture of what is going on here in Egypt.

You may say that I am just one person and I haven’t traveled over the whole of Egypt to see everything, and you’d be right, I haven’t. I’m also Muslim, so you may think that it means I’m going to lean toward my own religion rather than the contrary. However, this is not true either. I lean toward the truth, no matter the religion. And the truth is being covered up and  hidden under a veil of religious dissension.

The media and those involved would really love to make the world believe that Christians and Muslims are always fighting here. But that is not the truth. I have lived here a year now, and we have many neighbors who are Christian, friends and businessmen in our block who are Christian.

I have never once seen a fight in our neighborhood between any Christian and Muslim. I see fights between families and different Bedouin groups at times; mostly young men trying to prove them selves, but NEVER have I witnessed any violence here due to religious beliefs. The town we live in has more than a million people and there is still no regular police force in place. This is true of most of Cairo.

And yet, in the last eight months, since the start of the Revolution in a country where there is over 80 million people, if there was truly so much strife between the religious groups there would be both mosques and churches being blown up and destroyed every day as there are no police to stop this. But surprisingly this only happened when Mubarak was in control, or when “thugs” destroyed one church, the rebuilding of which was started the very next week by both Christians and Muslims. These are things that the West does not see in the news.

The Coptic Christians (keep in mind there are many sects of Christians here, just as in the United States) are blaming the military, saying that they were overly aggressive and violent toward the protesters Sunday night. However, the truth is that a video released before Sunday by the reverend heading the protest stated that they were going to protest and make this protest the most memorable one since January 25th. This reverend was also on TV stating that the government tore down their church, but when the reporter asked him regarding the electric bill that showed that the building was a residential building, not a church, he changed the subject and would not answer the question. The truth behind the destroyed church is that it was a building that was a home and they were trying to turn it into a church illegally.

The government then tore down the building. This happens whether it is a church, home, apartment building no matter what it is for, if it’s built illegally. I have seen this done right down the street from our home where someone had spent months and months erecting an apartment building to have the government come in and tear it down overnight. The fact is,  is that it was built illegally and I have not seen in the news media outside of Egypt reporting anyone reporting this fact. This reverend instigated dissent between the Coptic Christians and the government without revealing all the facts to the people. The church in question is in Aswan, which is hundreds of miles away from Cairo where the protests occurred, yet this man stirred up the people in Cairo and led them out intending for issues to happen, by his own words. People who, it was reported last week, are rapidly leaving this sect for other denominations due to their strict rules and laws.

So you have to wonder if what happened Sunday wasn’t planned as a way to distract its own members from the internal problems in the church. No better way than to make the people forget their own issues when they have someone else to point the finger at.

Then there is the military, who, up until now, has stayed clear of the protesters. It is not like in the US where, when the military comes and takes over, it’s considered a bad thing. Here in Egypt it is the opposite; the people are scared of the police and love the military. These are sons, brothers and husbands who are attempting to keep the peace and trying to help establish some sense of stability when they are a fighting force, not a political one.

The media today is showing pictures of the dead, and people are making claims that the military were seen throwing bodies into the Nile River and were shooting protesters. However, they do not show the videos of the men who were killing the soldiers, and more than likely the real protesters had very little to do with this; it was the “thugs” who always show up armed that cause the problems.

The video here is graphic. It shows a soldier cornered in the back of an empty truck and a man throwing a large rock onto his head, then jumping inside the truck and continuing  the attack. The video also shows soldiers escaping from their vehicle and attempting to run away when one is attacked by a group of men and was then kicked and beaten. They don’t show the videos we saw of men beating soldiers and others in the crowd with white crosses. This same thing happened at the beginning of the Revolution when “thugs” showed up armed with machetes and weapons which caused many unnecessary deaths and injuries.

Yes, there is truth that the Military Council has not moved as fast and as strongly as the people wished and hoped for, however they are also dealing with a corrupt system that did not just happen overnight and lasted only a few years, but was created and maintained over decades.

There is an outside source instigating dissension between the people and the military. The truth is being told by both sides, and that is the MAIN truth. My husband pointed out last night that the former Egyptian version of the FBI was dissolved and these people, along with many others that profited from when Mubarak was in control of the country, are not just sitting idly by in their homes.

This is where the “thugs” come into play. The third party that comes in from the side and sows the seeds of discontent and instigates the violence that happened on Sunday is an excellent example. The truth is that the Muslims and the Christians have been protesting side by side without incidents unless these “thugs” were introduced into the crowds and then attack randomly as others spread lies about small incidents and expound on things that are not the full truth. And these lies spread throughout the media, to the people of Egypt and to the world.

The truth is Mubarak and those who were in his regime are still pulling on the last remaining strings and, as my husband says, “if they can’t have it the way they want it, they don’t want the rest of the people to have what they want either.”

So you have four parts: 1.Mubarak and his supporters who do not want anything changed, 2. the people who are united for Egypt as a whole who want freedom and a hope for their future, 3. the ones who have their own agendas and will not profit from either of the first two groups, and 4. the military that is made up of all Egyptians, no matter their religious denomination, as every young man in Egypt is required to join the military for two years, unless he is in university, and then they must serve after finishing.

Those who once, by greed and corruption of this country, ruled with fear, are trying to divide it so that it cannot rise up to be something better than it has been. Every time there has been a ruling against one of those on trial, or someone was arrested, you will see in the news that immediately afterward there was an “incident” that involved “Christians and Muslims” and in all these cases both sides said that these “thugs” showed up armed and started attacking people.

Where we live, just a few miles down the road, are two churches, neither which have EVER been under guard, or in need of protection. The only buildings burned during the beginning of the Revolution were the police stations and outposts and the “FBI” buildings. The old government not only abused its own people, but robbed from them and now has the audacity to treat the population as if they were donkeys without a mind and without knowledge, and still think they can get away with everything. Proof of this is the sending in of camels and horses to stop protesters.

This is the “old way” of battle. The “new way” of battle is social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

If you have had any experience with trying to rid yourself of a well-established ant colony, then you know what it is like here in Egypt. First you have to find the ant hill and proceed to expose it and destroy it. We all know however, that the ants will retreat and try to return from other directions and from other hidden routes. It isn’t until the Queen is killed that the ants disperse and die and the nest is completely destroyed.

Egypt needs to purge itself of the core of the corruption and destroy completely the old way of government, before stability can return to this wonderful country.

Robyn Payne (aka Asmaa Ahmed) was born in Weaverville, California, and was raised in Mountain Gate. She graduated from Central Valley High School in 1988 and has lived all over the country since then, but always ended up back in Redding. A year ago she left Redding once again and now lives in Ain Helwan, Egypt, just south of Cairo, with her Egyptian husband and his family. She’s always enjoyed writing stories and poems and is a “just for fun” photographer

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

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Robyn (Asmaa) Payne was born in Weaverville, California and was raised in Mountain Gate where her family still lives. She graduated from C.V.H.S. in 1988 and has lived all over the country since then but always ended up back in Redding. In October of 2011 she left Redding once again and now lives in Cairo, Egypt, with her Egyptian husband and step son. She loves to write and is looking forward to sharing more of her new country and the people and places she loves here.
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6 Responses

  1. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    A thank you to ANewsCafe for providing a unique perspective.

  2. Avatar Canda says:

    This is a fascinating story. I appreciate your analogies of the cell phone, and the ant colony. What a mess! Thanks ANC. Very interesting.

  3. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Am I the only person who picked up a virus when I opened this article yesterday? My home computer is possessed now! Help!

  4. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Disregard last message please. I was able to get rid of the virus.

  5. Avatar JJH says:

    As a Muslim Egyptian I have to say you are just trying to stir up religious strife with this post and what you are saying is not true. You have a lot of veiled hostility toward Christians in your post. It might not be obvious to some of your readers, but it is pretty obvious to me. It's telling that you refer to what your "husband told you" several times. You are typical of foreign women who haven't been here very long who rely on their husbands for their information and sometimes in doing so wind up saying things that are really offensive in public because you don't really get that bigotry expressed by your husband at home isn't to be repeated publicly. Your comments betray your husband's prejudices which you parrot blindly.

    Also, it is completely untrue that there ever was a time when churches and mosques were being attacked on a daily basis.

    • Avatar Robyn says:

      JJH,

      I apologize if it appears to you that I'm trying to stir up religious troubles, but that was not my intention and is NOT an issue with me. My family is Christian and I love them and respect their beliefs, also I do have friends here who are Christians and have no intention of trying to put them in danger if I thought it was like that. I am not an ignorant woman who cannot think for myself, and just rely on my husbands comments alone…I respect his opinion, but I have my own eyes and I talk to people here, both Christian and Muslim and I have seen with my own eyes some of what goes on here. If there were churches and masjids (mosques) being blown up daily, then please, by all means, share that information with us with a link that reports that news. I also let many friends here in Egypt read this article to see if they agreed or if I had written anything that was not correct before I submitted this. If anyone is trying to cause strife, I would say you should reflect on your own words first, so if you have issues with me personally I apologize and pray that Allah blesses you.