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.