A video from 2013 depicting students in Cairo protesting while lying under white sheets has recently resurfaced on social media. Misleading descriptions have suggested that the video was captured in Gaza and is evidence of victim-faking.
Photo: Illustration, Raskrinkavanje
Published on October 30, 2023, a nearly two-minute video on Telegram features people lying in a row, covered by a white sheet. Throughout the footage, there are instances of movement, and at one point, a person lifts the sheet, revealing another individual underneath who raises his head and laughs. The accompanying description falsely implies that the video exposes the fabrication of Palestinian casualties during the conflict with Israel.
🇵🇸⚔️🇮🇱 Palestine: a daily dose of propaganda!!
he only had one job, to play dead
A snippet of the nine-second video, revealing movement in the supposedly lifeless body, was shared on Facebook on October 31, 2023. The accompanying description also suggests that the video is evidence of staged victimhood:
“It is naive to believe that both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict do not resort to manipulation and staging of civilian casualties”
What are the facts?
The video shared on social media has no connection to the recent escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel, and as such it cannot serve as evidence of victim falsification. Instead, the footage dates back to 2013, capturing student protests at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Multiple international fact-checking platforms Reuters, AP, Boom, Malumatfurus, Provereno and Newschecker.in have already confirmed this information.
According to the mentioned fact-checking platforms, the video was originally uploaded on October 28, 2013, YouTube channel of the Egyptian media company Al-Badil (archived). The video’s description notes that dozens of students from Al-Azhar University, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, organized large-scale protests in front of the institution’s administration building. The students reportedly chanted slogans against the army and the police.
As stated on the Croatian encyclopedia page, the Muslim Brotherhood is a religious-political organization founded in Egypt in 1928 that strives to create a social community based on Islam. Following the 2013 military coup that ousted former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed.
The performance seen in the video was designed as a protest against the events in Rabaa Square on August 14, 2013 (1, 2) where members of the Egyptian security forces killed hundreds of supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Years later, the video was shared with false claims that members of the Muslim Brotherhood faked the victims, as reported by Misbar and AFP in 2021.
The same video has been previously linked to Israel and Palestine. The Russian-language platform Provereno cites examples of posts from 2018 and 2021, where it was also implied that the footage shows staged victim scenes in Gaza. AFP Fact check and Boom addressed these claims in 2021. Additionally, the video has been shared in the past with false claims that it showed the faking of victims in Syria.
Since the escalation of the conflict in Israel and Gaza on October 7, thousands of Palestinians and Israelis have been killed. More than 1,400 people were killed in the Hamas attack in Israel, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the data of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the number of people killed in Israeli attacks exceeds 9,000.
Since the beginning of the escalation of violence, there have been various attempts on social networks to show that one or the other side is faking the victims (1, 2, 3). Similar narratives about faking victims have been observed in previous conflicts, including the war in Ukraine (1, 2, 3) and the war in Syria (link).
Therefore, the first publication of the video with the implication that it shows the falsification of victims in Gaza is rated as fake news. Other posts with this implication are rated as the distribution of fake news.