Whose luggage was that anyway?

345 people are dead at this year’s pilgrimage to Mecca. From the NYT story:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 12 – A stampede on Thursday at the annual pilgrimage to Mecca killed 345 people, the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry said, the deadliest such event since 1990. The Saudi Red Crescent Society said as many as 1,000 had been injured.

The pilgrims, most of them from the Indian Subcontinent, were trampled to death when they tripped over luggage left at the entrance to the Jamarat Bridge and were overrun by a crowd rushing behind them, said a ministry spokesman, Mansour bin Sultan al-Turki.

The official explanation:

The ministry had set up luggage storage areas near the bridge, but that there was not enough space for all the bags. There are no hotels along the way, just a few camps, and little in the way of security, so most pilgrims, or hajjis, take their belongings with them wherever they go.

Could be replays of the carnage coming in the news:

“About 700,000 people had gathered there today, but we still don’t know exactly what happened,” said Osama al-Bar, director of the Hajj Research Center at Um al-Qura University in Mecca. “We had seven cameras on the scene and will be studying them tomorrow.”

1,402 people died there in 1990, so I guess it could have been worse.

7 thoughts on “Whose luggage was that anyway?

  1. This keeps happening at the Mecca pilgrimage.  Haven’t these idiots ever heard of ‘crowd management’?  There must be experts in that very thing who could help them out.

    By ‘these idiots’ I mean the civic leaders of Mecca.  Like any civic leaders, the safety of the public is their responsibility and they seem to have awfully short memories.  Or is there a heavenly reward for being trampled at Mecca?  I’m asking; I really don’t know enough about Islam.

  2. This keeps happening at the Mecca pilgrimage.  Haven’t these idiots ever heard of ‘crowd management’?  There must be experts in that very thing who could help them out.

    By ‘these idiots’ I mean the civic leaders of Mecca.  Like any civic leaders, the safety of the public is their responsibility and they seem to have awfully short memories.  Or is there a heavenly reward for being trampled at Mecca?  I’m asking; I really don’t know enough about Islam.

    DOF, give them a bit more slack. They HAVE crowd managment experts. In fact, they are often hiring people and engineers from the west to do this stuff, which kinda shows that this is important enough to them (seeing that Non-Muslims ain’t even ALLOWED to enter Mecca by law!).

    But the fact is that according to islamic custom, the main events of the pilgrimage have to happen on ONE specific day a year (as far as I understand it, its really only one day) and they have over TWO MILLION people to move through the holy sites on that day.

    May not make much sense to an atheist, but thats the way it is. In such logictic constraints, accidents do happen. What are (speaking very coldy) a few hundred dead when you got millions moving through? Heck, they probably have thousands of deaths from natural causes…

    Weird additional fun fact: Saudia Arabia had to institute quotas for pilgrims. 1000 per year per million citizens oper country. Get that? That means that if a nation is 100% muslim, and they all want to do the pilgrimage, they will have to wait 1000 (!) years until all were able to.

    Weird additional fun fact: One of the mainstays (and in ‘crowd control’ terms most dangerous) parts of the Hajj is the stoning of the devil, represented by three stone pillars. In former days. These days, the pillars have been replaced by walls, and a two-level platform has been constructed around it (soon to be expanded to four levels) to allow as much stoning at a time as possible.

  3. Or is there a heavenly reward for being trampled at Mecca?

    Someone dying on the Hajj will gain instant entrance into heaven according to Islamic tradition.

  4. Have you, or they had any luck blaming Bush for this one?

    You don’t blame a monkey when he shoots someone, you just shrug and say ‘whaddya expect?  He’s a monkey!”

  5. Have you, or they had any luck blaming Bush for this one?

    It wouldn’t make sense to blame Bush for something he obviously has no potential to affect. That would bring into question all the actual mistakes he’s made.

    Though I will say when in doubt, blame the Bush administration. Chances are always good you’ll end up being right.

  6. When I read the headline, and first sentence, I figured that it was a bomb in a suitcase. Nope, just some guys partially clean clothes.

    -Bob

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.