In 1770, one of the most infamous events in American history took place between a crowd of unarmed colonists and a group of armed British soldiers. Snowballs were thrown at the soldiers as a sign of displeasure, but in a sudden and shocking turn of events, someone shouted, “FIRE!” Bodies fell quickly, as though it was automatically the fault of an unprovoked military. The commanding officer, Thomas Preston, denied ever giving such an order, knowing that it was contrary to protocol even in the face of a harsh and snowball-throwing protest. To this day, no one has a definitive answer to what happened on that day that became known as the Boston Massacre.
Last week, violence erupted in Egypt as a group of Christian protesters (known in the region as Copts, for their allegiance to the Christian traditions of the classical era) were suddenly and suprisingly fired upon by the military while marching in Cairo. The reason for their march had been sparked by the burning of a Coptic church in southern Egypt. Copts have often been discriminated against throughout the Middle East, even though they make up a solid, minority religion. However, the military claims that their firings were incited by several in the crowd who fired at them first. Right now, the heat of animosity between military and civilians is fuming, so the truth about who fired first may take some to uncover. On the other hand, history may recognize this as an always mysterious and unsolved Cairo Massacre, not all that unlike its 1770 counterpart in Boston.
Current reports from Egyptian health officials suggest that there are at least 24 dead and 212 injured. A curfew was immediately enforced on Sunday as an attempt to draw down any further violence.
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