Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hajj death

I was going to write about this issue days ago.. but I told myself there has been too much seriousness in the air lately.. so I might as well push it back.. and as soon as I decide to write about this issue, even more of it is floating on the news...
Apparently the death toll has risen up from the 76 figure a week ago, when 50 people died because of a stampede. I didn't get the story yet, but there is one thing I can confirm.. IT'S NOT THE FIRST TIME!
The reason its not, is the same old problem.. we surround this event with much holyness and less intervention, thinking that things will take care of themselves. Every year.. people die in the Hajj pilgrimage.. usually from the poorer countries.. because they kind of get the boot over there...
In order for this yearly death tradition to stop, I suggest the following things:
First off, Saudis should be treated like everyone else! They can only go do the pilgrim once every five years, just like any other nationality.. not only for safety reasons, but because Islam says we're all equal.
Second, enough giving responsibilities to people that don't deserve them. Get a professional consultancy organization.. I would suggest the people that organized the olympics in Atlanta and the World Cup in france 98 because of their efficiency... and LISTEN to what they say.. they have experience moving lots of people from point A to point B.
Third, the Asian markets (ie India and China) are experiencing staggering growth rates. Year on year, more and more indians are moving from the lower classes to the middle class because of a wealth boom.. and China speaks for itself these past couple of years.. which means more and more muslims will come for the pilgrim to thank the lord for the extra income they earned.. therefore.. the price tag to go to the holy land should be jacked up in my opinion. In islam, you are only required to perform Hajj if you are able to do so... the trick is to make more people unable, because the space there is limited.. there is just so much capacity. Its not exclusive as a carribian cruise... just a result of the increase in wealth.
I hope next year's Hajj is death free.


Blogger Duffy said...

Is there any religious prohibition that would prevent the Haj from being more frequent and with fewer pilgrims? It seems to me the sheer number of people is a large part of the problem. Perhaps they should make this a monthly thing instead of yearly. Either that or create some sort of infrastructure to support a constant stream of pilgrims in and out of Mecca. Just a thought.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Cerebralwaste said...

Now Joker you don't expect the Saudi's to do anything as rational and sane as what you proposed do you? Combine your thoughts with Duffy above and BINGO problem solved. But not in Saudi. Life is cheap in the Middle East and in Arabia it is the cheapest

In a free country the cost of the lawsuits alone would force major reform on how the HAJ is done.

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're right that EVERY single one should be treated the same and that they all should go to hajj then not go back for another 5 years, why are your kind (and you know who I am talking about) going every year?

Hajj is once in a lifetime obligation. Not a yearly parade.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Nameless said...

Speaking of the death toll for this year's hajj, another 300+ people were trampled to death yesterday and 290+ injured and hospitalised in Mina (jamarat area).

May allah bring our people back home safely.

2:18 PM  
Blogger The Joker said...

Duffy, I don't know if there is a religious prohibition.. but the Quran makes reference to two haj pilgrims.. with these numbers it should definitely be spread out during the year with all this population increase in muslim countries.

Cerebreal waste, if judge judy looked at the case of 700 pilgrims killed in the stampede, or the owner of the hotel that crashed with occupants in it, we would be better off. And what you said is very sad and true.. life is cheap here.

anonymous, who are my kind? And no, I don't know who you're talking about.. and believe you me, Sir/Madam, I do not go there every year... and if you're personalizing the issue and pinpointing it to me and my kind.. rest assured that my "kind" don't go there very often..

Nameless.. the death toll has risen to close to 700.. and the numbers are still unconfirmed. I read your blog.. I think you had 2 very nice entries about the topic.. and the discussion you stimulated, although strongly opposed, is getting some messages across.

Don't be strangers, guys

4:58 PM  
Blogger Nameless said...

Thanks Joker for your response. It's funny how we complain and demand freedom of speech and when a few of us express our thoughts on our personal blogs, we are condemned for it. So ironic.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Cerebralwaste said...


Was it you I was with that we saw the ads for what was basically "time share" apartments/condos in Mecca? I think it was at Seef Mall. Just a pointless issue to ponder.

1:28 AM  
Blogger The Joker said...

Cerebral waste.. yeah I remember now.. but I don't think they were time shares.. I think we made it up didnt we? But yeah they were pricy.. no one gets hurt in that part of town I bet

4:29 PM  
Blogger Cerebralwaste said...

You can bet the "riff raff" won't be allowed anywhere near those units. O I am sorry there is no riff raff but you can bet security around those buildings is pretty tight anyway.

For the prices being asked for those units one would think and expect you would get a private hajj visit and special stones to throw as well.

Only the Saudis could exploit a religious site in this manner.

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Anonymous um Amira said...

no one responded to duffy in that there is an obvious religious prohibition preventing the hajj from being a year round thing. it seems to a non muslim to rotate arouond the year, but just like Ramadan the month of fasting, it is always at the same time in the Islamic calendar marking the hijrah. you can travel to the kaaba at any time to pray there, a lot of saudis pray there every day. but the religious obligation of hajj is very specific in the rules surrounding it.

it would be smart i agree to have some sort of organized infrastructure as you all have suggested, however the idea of naming non muslims such as 'those who organized the olympics' is flawed. islam is strict as are the saudis about who enters our sacred land. And alhamdulillah for mecca not being a "free" land subject to frivolous lawsuits! it would be in pretty poor taste for a muslim to sue over any act petty or not, during this holy time. the people who are killed were done so by the will of God, and they will be rewarded for their good deeds and inshaAllah for participating in the hajj.

5:29 PM  
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