Once again, I’m using the social media-aggregation tool Storify to work up a story using the Twitter feeds of reporters & protesters on the scene. This time, it’s in Tahrir Square, where the confrontations between the police and the citizens (fed up with the emerging military dictatorship) are taking a darker turn.
I put this together in about 5 minutes, after following the increasingly alarming messages coming out of #Tahrir via @acarvin. Knowing what I do about nerve gas (VX and/or Sarin) and mustard gas (whose effects I saw myself in the wheezing of my great-uncle Pete St. John, who had gotten a dose on the Western Front in WWI), it freaked me out that the Egyptian military may have taken such a drastic step.
It turns out that they were perhaps using some kind of new tear gas – one that is invisible, but that still stings like a sonofabitch. If you’ve clicked the link above, you were taken to a page of clinical data from autopsies of British soldiers killed by gas in WWI. Grim, grim reading. Basically, the gas causes chemical burns all over your body, and you die from choking on the ragged, torn-up lung tissue that you cough up as you drown in your own blood.
Yeah. Fun times. There’s a reason we as a species have reacted with horror at anyone using these kinds of chemical weapons ever since.
Anyway, the rumor mills flew into hyperspeed on Twitter & social media, and you could see the rise and fall of the meme (fostered by a Twitter account purportedly belonging to Mohamed El Baradei) of chemical weapons use.