The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Makkah Disaster - Culprit Named! 

It's a "Western thing" to have endless enquiries and investigations into disasters that stretch into the far distant future, so that by the time they report, everyone's forgotten the original event.

Not so in Saudi Arabia. We go in for urgent and transparent investigations. Following the Makkah stampede of two days ago that killed over 360 pilgrims, our Royal Family, no less, have thoroughly investigated events, and duly identified The Guilty Party. It is no less than..............


God? Yes, you know, God. Creator of Heaven and earth. Bringer of Famine, Pestilence and Plague, when He so chooses. Not to mention Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Hurricanes. That God. He did it.

Who says? Well, for a start, the Crown Prince himself.

....the Crown Prince said in a statement issued in Jeddah that the incident that took place at the entrance of the eastern Jamarat Bridge on Thursday has been predestined by Almighty Allah and no one can prevent fate.

So there you go. It was always going to happen, so nobody could have prevented it, whatever they did.

Meanwhile, Number 2 in line to the throne, Prince Nayif, weighed in with his own unique contribution.

.....we all know the large number of security forces that were deployed this year, but some things are just above the ability of human beings. What happened was God’s will.

So there you are, God. In the language of the British criminal classes, they have really "stitched you up" for this one. You won't wriggle out of this, not in a million years. And of course, they themselves are off the hook. They don't need to worry about their own government policy, the numbers allowed in, whether there were enough security forces, whether (Heaven forbid!) they can actually get the religious rulings changed, spread the whole event, make it optional. Oh no, none of that. Because God dunnit.

Now an unkind person might think that their detached and philosophical approach to the whole thing is because Saudis are very much in the minority of the victims.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki told a press conference that 44 of the identified dead were Indians, followed by 37 Pakistanis, 18 Saudis, 12 Bangladeshis, 10 Egyptians, seven Yemenis, six Sudanese, six Maldivians, six Turks, five Algerians, five Afghans, four Moroccans, three Iraqis, two Omanis, two Iranians, two Syrians, two Chinese, and one each from Jordan, Ethiopia, Germany, Chad, Belgium, Palestine, Ghana, Turkistan and Nigeria.

But that's an unkind thought, and I won't even think it.

However, someone, somewhere in a Ministry is planning ahead.

General Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior......said that starting next week, the current Jamarat bridge, which has seen a similar stampede in 2004 in which 251 pilgrims were killed during the risky Jamarat devil-stoning ritual, will be torn down and a new one with an elaborate system of entry and exit points will be erected in its place, up and running by next year s Haj. He added that the bridge will be expanded to five stories for the Haj season two years away.

That's really good news. Every time we have a stampede, we improve the bridge, and get an even better stampede. From 2008 onwards, we're going to have multi-storey stampedes, extending over five floors!

Is that really what God wants? Makkah, the "Mecca" for human stampedes, twinned with Calgary? Makkah, World Capital of Crowd Carnage? Or does he want us to use the brains that He supplied us with, and come up with a better solution? Yes, Sultan and Nayif, even your brains came from God! So stop blaming God, and use them!

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