The violence and absurdity coming from Egypt via news reports is stunning. The police have been granted permission to use lethal force to disperse crowds of civilian protesters. Stories of police brutality and downright murder have been rampant on Twitter. Yesterday, according to The Atlantic, Washington Post reporter Abigail Hauslohner tweeted from her personal account what she witnessed first hand.
Police carried a wounded fellow officer past us. Another officer beat a teenager over the head with a handgun before hauling the youth away. A woman implored a police officer not to kill protesters as they shoved back a man who, through tears, said he was trying to get to his younger sister, who was trapped inside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.
To be sure, the violence in Egypt is difficult for most to comprehend. Olga Khazan of The Atlantic has put together a chart comparing fatalities due to police-on-protester crackdowns throughout history. Admittedly, she states that many caveats exist as some estimates of deaths wildly exceed those reported. Nonetheless, it helps to put the Egyptian events of the past few days into context and helps us realize we could be witnessing one of the most violent uprisings of the recent past.