Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pilgrims crushed

Every year, people are killed like this, but this year seems particularly bad.
It's scary to me to imagine embarking on this journey knowing that it could end with you under the feet of the crowd. And think of all the old ladies and other frail types there...the very ones who are at the tail end of the crowd when sundown approaches, because hello, they walk slower.
In West Africa, people I talked with would say that it was those "big, strong" pilgrims from Indonesia, which seemed funny, because compared to me, the average Indonesian is a wee slip of a thing. Moroccans that I talked with about this also believed the problem to lie with some other, shovier, pushier nationality...Sub-Saharan Africans and Asians, they might say. Ethnic predjudice aside, come on. The problem is that there are so many people, and so small a space, and the deadline...I wonder if this happens as much when hajj is in the summer and there's more daylight?
There's got to be a better way of crowd control...I know the bridge was widened at some point, but someone needs to step up and make some big changes. You shouldn't have to take your life in your hands to fulfill this requirement. It's tough enough already.

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