Saudis halved the death toll in Hajj stampede: true count is 1453


#1

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#2

The Saudi Royal family are charged, by and for of all of Islam, to maintain access to Mecca and Medina. That obligation is a big one and sincerely taken. And apart from the tragedy, the humiliation of failing so publicly in something so important, is very real indeed.


#3

I’m curious as to how they brought the other dead folks back to life?


#4

Maybe it’s too Alastair Reynolds but would something like a giant serpentine people mover be acceptable to get people around and to the Ka’aba?
Sorta like


#5

neighboring Iran

Neighboring by what border?


#6

The Persian Gulf. They didn’t say land border.


#7

It’s about 100 miles away.


#8

What are these architectural features? Covered balconies?


#9

I bet they are… I kind of hate the fact that so much of the Ottoman era architechture was destroyed so they could build those hotels. I understand the need to house people, but still.


#10

That’s the Makkah Hilton. And yes they appear to be balconies with shutter-like blinds. Lots of photos of the inside and outside here:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g293993-d306568-Reviews-Hilton_Makkah-Mecca_Makkah_Province.html#photos


#11

Ooooh, poor Saudi Royal Family, are they a little embarrassed?

Humiliation is when you poo yourself on national TV. Being witness to the death of over a thousand people is not a time when your national ego should enter into it - be contrite, be honest, and fix yo shit. Nobody cares if you have to blush a bit, human beings died, this is not about your ego.


#12

That sounds like it belongs in one of the (glut of) gun threads. It’s a good point.


#13

It’s Saudi Arabia. . . maybe they just weren’t counting the women.


#14

Iran could take a leadership role of sorts by preparing their own people for the Hajj. Train people to avoid the worst crowds and to recognize dangerous situations far enough ahead to be able to GTFO.


#15

Probably too busy raping and torturing people with impunity to get an accurate figure. You do know these were mostly poor people right?


#16

Racist prick. Everyone who wants to treat this as an individual behavior problem should be dismissed immediately. This is a crowd control problem. My father made Hajj years ago. He actually made the “practice Hajj” or Umrah, a few times. People really don’t understand the scale of the number of people there unless you’ve been there (or have a great head for numbers). My father described people living, eating, sleeping, and worshiping everywhere. And not everyone does Hajj the same way. For one thing, even the process of entry is dependent on the geographical region from which you came, not as a function of bureaucracy, but as a religious element of the Hajj. People have been known not to have studied up on Hajj religious protocol, which leads to people doing things like praying in places where everyone else is walking. It is absolutely the obligation of the authorities in Mecca to control for all of this. They have the money, and they have the moral motivation to do so.

They have done a number of things that have worked in the past, which makes their failure here less excusable. For example, the “stoning of the devil,” which has led to stampedes in the past, does not require the worshiper to actually hit one of the pillars, only that they throw the stone in the direction of the pillars. But, humans are humans, and they feel compelled to succeed. So after numerous tragedies, they finally set up a wall around the pillars that was impossible not to hit. This cut down on injuries immensely. Another thing they need to deal with is the Black Stone at the Kaabah. Pilgrims are not obligated to kiss the stone if they cannot reach it, just to point at it. But again, people are motivated to succeed, and this leads to jostling and disorder and injuries. This isn’t even a fundamentalism issue, my father is a fire and brimstone Muslim who reads the Quran daily. His opinion is that the stone should be walled off, because there is genuinely no obligation to kiss the stone and it only causes problems. This isn’t even considered blasphemy by extreme Muslims, actually jostling to kiss the stone is a form of violence, and pilgrims aren’t permitted to exercise violence during their pilgrimage.

There are solutions here, but fundamentally the Saudi government doesn’t give enough of a damn about a lot of the pilgrims. A lot of them are desperately poor, and the Saudis genuinely don’t care about them.


#17

The Saudis have a long track record of not reporting important stuff. Like how many people have MERS, or that MERS is a thing. Basically, the Saudi government’s disgusting lack of guts is the reason why there’s a couple hundred people dead of MERS in South Korea.


#18

They’re actually traditional, or in this case, pseudo-traditional.


#20

It’s nice to see someone here giving real perspective on the Hajj as an experience overall.

Too often we throw easy answers at hard problems, and of course they do nothing.


#21

1453, Ironically the year Constantinople was sacked, raped, pillaged. All in the name of religion. Up till then a country of another religion.

Personally I’m getting sick and tired of religion, all of it, actually lets properly define it as ‘religious belief’. Religious belief is one of the singular most dangerous things facing humanity.

The sooner people grow up and accept personal responsibility, so we can relegate it’s lies, half truths and plain figments of the imagination the better.