Stoning, Pillars, a Bridge, and a Deadly Stampede

Thursday, January 12, 2006
I don't know what can be said of things such as Death Toll Rises to 345 in Hajj Stampede.

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a symbolic stoning ritual during the hajj tripped over luggage Thursday, causing a crush in which at least 345 people were killed despite Saudi attempts to prevent stampedes that have plagued the annual event...

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said 345 people were killed. More than 1,000 people were injured, said Dr. Abbasi with the Saudi Red Crescent...
... the annual hajj pilgrimage and has seen deadly stampedes in the past, including one in 1990 that killed 1,426 people and another in February 2004 that killed 244. Seven of the past 17 yearly pilgrimages have seen deadly incidents at al-Jamarat.

The latest crush came despite Saudi attempts to ease the flow of traffic around al-Jamarat. This year's hajj was marred by the Jan. 5 collapse of a building being used as a pilgrims' hotel that killed 76 people in Mecca...

The pillars are located on a large pedestrian bridge, the width of an eight-lane highway over the desert plain of Mina outside the holy city of Mecca. Four ramps lead up the bridge to give pilgrims access to the site, and the stampede occurred at the base of one ramp...

The stampede took place despite Saudi efforts to improve traffic at the site, where all 2.5 million pilgrims participating in the annual hajj move from pillar to pillar to throw their stones, then exit.

Saudi authorities replaced the small round pillars with short walls to allow more people to throw their stones without jostling for position. The walls extend down through the bridge and protrude underneath, so pilgrims below can also carry out the stoning without going above.

Officials also recently widened the bridge, built extra ramps and increased the time pilgrims can carry out the rite - which on the second and final days traditionally takes place from midday until sunset.

Shiite Muslim clerics have issued religious edicts allowing pilgrims to start the ritual in the morning, and many Shiites from Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Lebanon and Pakistan took advantage to go early in the day.

``This is much better. We are now done with the stoning before the crowd gets larger,'' an Iranian pilgrim, Azghar Meshadi, said hours before the stampede.

But Saudi Arabia's Sunni Muslim clerics, who follow the fundamentalist Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, encouraged pilgrims to stick to the midday rule...


85 comments:

Buddy Larsen said...

Kinda sheds a little light on the nature of the enemy, doesn't it--cynical bastids taking advantage of these poor desert folks and their incredible fervor.

Knucklehead said...

incredible fervor

Well, Buddy, the report of this left me speechless and searching for something to say about it. I came up empty, as is obvious, but "incredible fervor" never entered my head. Apt, that's what it is. Apt.

Buddy Larsen said...

and it happens almost every year--that's plenty sobering--if you're assuming that, say, MAD doctrine is reliable vs Iran.

Doug said...

"cynical bastids taking advantage of these poor desert folks and their incredible fervor"
---
So we can expect Buddy Larsen to be excoriated here when he pokes fun of my incredible pineapple fueled fevor?

Doug said...

I'm in favor of the Mad Doctrine.
Air Drop 40 million magazines across Iran.

Buddy Larsen said...

So, you CAN distill pineapples?

Buddy Larsen said...

"What, me explode?"

But seriously, if you want to drop magazines over Iran, make'em 9mm, with accompanying delivery tools.

Buddy Larsen said...

Sher-nuf way to blunt the police state--give pre-victims a way to guard their doors.

Skookumchuk said...

buddy:

Yes, indeedee. Crème d'ananas. They used to have a pineapple liquor factory in the Cook Islands. And I think you can order the stuff from Lamb & Watt, in the UK.

(Hic.)

Peter UK said...

For a religious event, the annual Haj has higher fatalities than Iraq.

1997: Fire kills 343 pilgrims and injures 1,500 at camp in Mina
1994: Stampede near Jamarat bridge kills at least 270 pilgrims
1990: Stampede in crowded tunnel leading to holy sites kills 1,426 pilgrims
1987: About 400 killed - mainly Iranian Shia pilgrims - in clashes with Saudi forces

Peter UK said...

With a Hawaiian Paradise you can eat the empties.

Skookumchuk said...

. . . But I digress. A buddy of mine used to work for a major aircraft chartering company that will remain nameless in the present discussion. Anyway, he had a group that cleaned out the 747s used to take pilgrims to the haj. Yikes. Its quite a story.

markg8 said...

"Sher-nuf way to blunt the police state--give pre-victims a way to guard their doors."

That seems to have been Saddam's plan.
25 million AK-47s and enough ammo to support an insurgency for 18 years.

Buddy Larsen said...

Yeh, that Saddam, a true believer in individual liberty--just check the record. A reg'lar George Washington, he was.

Buddy Larsen said...

...747 trip to Haj--must be an experience for the Haj-level of modernism. Some of the old roman ruins are still the last plumbing to've existed in north African rural villages. Put 'em on a 747, put us on a spaceship from Alpha Centauri.

Skookumchuk said...

And the thing is that dying during hajj is automatic martyrdom. Such a deal.

terrye said...

I am reading Robert Spencer's book the Politically Incorrect History of Islam and the Crusades and it is scarey.

Mark, what was the point to that?

RogerA said...

Herren und damen--I almost hesitate to post this in the risk in appearing insensitive to our muslim brethren--you know, those adherents to the religion of peace--but what the hell--this is TOO good to pass up.

First of all the Arab spokes person whats his name "al-Turki." for those unfamiliar with the kingdom, the al-turki's were a tribe not disposed to being subservient to the Al-Sauds--well, they lost that battle 70 years ago--the Al-Sauds have brought them into the regime by marrying the male members of the Al-Turki's to the excess females of the Al-Saud family (never think that womens rights arent important in the kingdom)--thus we get a glimpse into the nature Saudi politics: all family and tribalism-nothing else.

Ah, but there is the spectacle of thousands of adherents of the religion of peace crushing themselves to death in a mindless stampede because yes--they have just returned from ritual of stoning the devil--

You just cant make this stuff up, folks--I apologize for my anti moslim sentiments--but I spent an entire year in the kingdom trying to get saudi soldiers to grow a backbone--and I was harrassed, as was my wife, by the mindless bigotry that is saudi islam--I wont go quite as far as Kos' pronoucement on the deaths of american contractors in Iraq--
but I assure you, it comes pretty damn close.

Peter UK said...

Apparently it is the West which is frightening people away from Islam.

Peter UK said...

Terrye,
"Mark, what was the point to that?"

What is with this "point" business,some kind of paleo-conservative, capitalist, propagada technique.
This is the new left, they don't do points,the do stream of consciousness feeling,as long as you end with "So you refuse to answer that",it is possible to trip out and gabble anything you like.Points indeed!

Knucklehead said...

PeterUK,

My guess is that Rush once said something about the value of having a point and Terrye has been slavishly persuing the meme ever since. Mark, free spirit that he is, can't be bothered with such outdated, racist, materialist tripe.

Skookumchuk said...

Another guy I knew was involved with training Saudi Air Force pilots. The trick was to not challenge them in any way or give them anything hard to do. Be nice and deferential and pass them at all costs. Lovely.

Doug said...

Skookumchuk,
Damn!
I thought it was going to be about a group that cleaned out the 747s used to take Pineapples to the Hitchin Hut.

Doug said...

"The trick was to not challenge them in any way or give them anything hard to do"
1. See the tall building?
2. See the big plane?
3. Plane go Boom!

Peter UK said...

Knucklehead,
Yes logic is going to be the downfall of the neo-cons,the left will prevail with collective random thought patterns,get enough of them together and the meaning of "is" will become clear,all that is needed is the rest of the sentence.Not that important since the words can mean anything you want.

Buddy Larsen said...

Yes, that was a Red Queen that could 'believe a thousand things before breakfast'.

Peter UK said...

Most apt!

RogerA said...

Our troll Mark--Markie--have you ever spent any time in a non-western country--a country where you surrender your passport when you enter?

Gee

I thought not

If you have any interest in doing that I can tell you how to go about it--in your case I would recommend Yemen--but for god sakes man--NEVER bend over there

markg8 said...

The point? Iranians probably have weapons caches all over the country already in case someone decides to invade. Not that it's likely to happen but they only have to look next door to see how well it works. Dropping them more would be a waste of the taxpayers money and they'd only wind up in the hands of the Badr Corp. anyway.

Here's another point. Anybody who claims they are so deeply and sincerely concerned about the plight of Arabs that we need to bring them democracy at the point of a gun ought to check the racist garbage at the door, don't ya think?

markg8 said...

Still waiting Peety.

Buddy Larsen said...

remarking on the 21st century and the 14th crashing head-on is no more an indictment of the 14th than it is the 21st, Marko. But, good of you to try making a point.

RogerA said...

Markie my friend--I am NOT concerned about arabs at all--as long as they constitute the potential opponents of American Military Power we will continue to unite a whole lot of them with their 72 virgins (or rasins)--you clealy have never been in an islamic country--had you so, you would come to understand them for what they are--ignorant, intolerant and murdeous--and you thank that any that calls a spade a spade is racist? give me break, idiot.

Peter UK said...

Markg8,
Interestingly the post is about the Haj in Saudi Arabia,not Iraq,not Iran,not even New Jersey,though there might be a similar stampede to get out of the room when you enter.

By the way does anyone know what Markg8 is waiting for,it isn't cyber soliciting is it? I mean this is a respectable site.

Buddy Larsen said...

Leaving people forever under a murdering tyrant and his psychotic hereditary murdo-torturocracy is very progressive and multiculti helpful, too, ain't it Mark? Put all the brown people you want in the wood-chippers, but don't make comments on their fundamentalist wacko-wing.

Buddy Larsen said...

Peter, he's been down on you ever since you linked that college-kid website. I don't why, he couldn't possibly be ashamed of his political activities.

markg8 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter UK said...

Yes Buddy,but it isn't right that a fifty year old should cyber stalk young people,for all we know he dresses like a clown whilst he is doing it.

Just because Markg8 claims he is political does not mean that he is,this could be chat room grooming.

We should be told who he represents,why he emails young college kids rather than face them,how he makes his money to comment nonstop.

I could be misjudging him, but he never mentions a job,claims to have been to college,but will not say what he has a degree in,there is even some doubt that he is who he claims to be,one cannot be too careful where young people are concerned

markg8 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buddy Larsen said...

Well, maybe we could hook him up with that Canadian lady y'all had up on 'Peers thread, Karen Homulka, or something?

Chip in and send 'em on a cruise to Aruba?

Buddy Larsen said...

How did you get into russian plywood, anyway, Mark?

Buddy Larsen said...

Drop-ship, or inventory?

Buddy Larsen said...

Blog administrator must not be *that* worried about 'looking bad'.

terrye said...

I keep forgetting we are not supposed to bring democracy at the point of a gun.

We can however, sit back with our thumbs up our asses and watch Saddam wipe out hundreds of thousands of human beings and pretend to care while we do nothing whatsoever about it..

The point is this religion has not changed in centuries and the greatest threat to the Muslims is their own faith.

There I said it, sue me.

At least the Democrats did their bit to protect the Tundra and made sure that a bunch of desert shieks can continue to hold the world economy hostage.

I wonder if it has occured to them that the people most damaged by the Oil crises were the poor?

Like they care, they gotta worry about the polar bears and the caribou.

markg8 said...

Censorship is so nice.

terrye said...

hey mark, go get your own blog. free country.

markg8 said...

Throwing stones at someone else's religion for being backward while supporting a political party whose leadership doesn't believe in evolution is kind of crazy if ya ask me.

Buddy Larsen said...

Try toning down the unpleasantness, Mark. It creates snark-back, and soon the whole thread is degenerating. I think that is the message being sent.

markg8 said...

I wonder what Ayatollah al Sistani's take on evolution is? Still got the link Buddy?

markg8 said...

I'm sorry I'll refrain from responding anymore to this particular post and you can continue your hate fest unabated.

Buddy Larsen said...

Who precisely doesn't believe in evolution, and how do you know?

Throwing stones at a fundie sect that is spawning world war is pretty human, I think.

What do you want to do, stick your head in the sand and wait for a city-kill, or just blow them all off the face of the earth, or maybe try to help them evolve?

Pick one of the three, there aren't any other choices.

Buddy Larsen said...

Mark-world: two types, Marxists and Appalachian snake-handlers. Nothing in between.

Seneca the Younger said...

I'm in favor of the Mad Doctrine.
Air Drop 40 million magazines across Iran.


And Victoria's Secret catalogues.

Skookumchuk said...

So anyway, if you can't hop a freighter to the Cook Islands to rebuild the abandoned pineapple liquor factory yourself, or if you have trouble getting some from Lamb & Watt over in Blighty, here is a recipe.

Just to keep the thread from degenerating and all.

Buddy Larsen said...

LOL! signed, "the degenerate"

Seneca the Younger said...

That seems to have been Saddam's plan. 25 million AK-47s and enough ammo to support an insurgency for 18 years.

However, Mark, he doesn't seem to have counted on the "insurgency" splitting into two groups and shooting each other.

Knucklehead said...

Other than, perhaps, that into each blog a troll must creep (or is it a creep must troll - I can never keep this stuff straight), why do we tolerate this idiot. He (it?) may well be one of the dumbest human beings to ever learn to work a keyboard.

Speaking of which, it a pair of monkeys were taught to play with a keyboard, how long would it take them to enter a Markish comment on a blog?

Buddy Larsen said...

2 cups pineapple
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups vodka
1/2 cup sugar syrup

Some ingredients, skook. bring 'em home from the store, drink the vodka, throw that other sh*t in the garbage.

Knucklehead said...

PeterUK,

Since this has degenerated into something of a recipes with alcohol thread, are you aware of something that, to my knowledge, is sorta kinda almost uniquely British and called "rum" or "Christmas" punch? If so, how do you go about it?

(I'll post what I think it is - and what is well worth the effort regardless - after hearing your thoughts.)

Peter UK said...

Seneca,
Impossible,AK 47s will only shoot at capitalists,unless they are secular AKs

Buddy Larsen said...

Well, at the risk of reanimating the swamp creature, I must say, I thought Sistani was on our side. But, maybe that puts him against the swamp-creature. hell, i don't know.

Peter UK said...

Knucklehead,that is a terrible slur on our simian cousins,some of them are Senators!

Peter UK said...

Does it really matter whether Sistani believes in evolution or not as long as he believes in democracy?

terrye said...

mark talking about a hate fest..what a hoot.

Buddy Larsen said...

What possible difference does it make whether or not someone is an ally or an enemy in the Global War on Terror, when there are fundamental issues like Evolution burning on the front burner of the burner front?

Skookumchuk said...

peter uk:

Does it really matter whether Sistani believes in evolution or not as long as he believes in democracy?

No, it doesn't matter one whit. We shall see how the world develops.

Buddy Larsen said...

I say we rent a phone booth and stage a battle between the Evolution Fundies and the Non-Evolution Fundies.

Peter UK said...

Look Buddy,we have to get the Iranian Evolutionary Guard onside.

Rick Ballard said...

Skook,

Did your friend's tales include cleaning up the remains of small cooking fires? I've heard that stewardesses have become rather upset when the weary hadji's put on the kettle in tourist class. Why should they be concerned about a little alcohol stove?

Or was it the foot prints on the toilet seats?

Buddy Larsen said...

Quick, hide the Bible, it's the Evolutionary Guard!

Skookumchuk said...

rick:

Pretty much everything you mention. And never mind the footprints - missing the toilet compartment all together doesn't help airframe corrosion, I'm told.

He had a very high, ah, turnover rate, among his cleaning staff.

Skookumchuk said...

buddy:

And how many Appalachian snake-handlers have been beheading journalists lately?

Peter UK said...

Yes Buddy,That is why they want the bomb,to see if an extinction event works.

Buddy Larsen said...

missing the toilet compartment all together

No. no. nononono.

Peter UK said...

Why don't airlines just leave the doors open for messy customers to go outside?

Knucklehead said...

...missing the toilet compartment all together...

Unfortunately, yes, yes, yesyesyesyes.

I once was aboard a train in Malaga when a battalion of our erstwhile "fervent" friends embarked. As bad as it may seem, missing the toilet compartment "altogether" was not the worst of it.

After the luggage came flying through the windows toward hands that weren't yet waiting to catch it, boiled eggs were removed from backpacks and pockets, rolled to crack up the shells, and then the shells were blown off to wherever they fell. Sanitation went relentlessly downhill from there.

Fortunately those were the days when, if one needed a breath of fresh air, one could climb off and walk alongside trains in Spain when they were creeping 'cross the plain.

Buddy Larsen said...

But not on any cross-central-Texas flights, please.

Buddy Larsen said...

the strains on brains is mainly on 'explains'.

thankew, thankew, please, enough applesause.

Peter UK said...

"Then out of the blue clear sky
Fallin' right into your hands
Like rain on the desert sand
It's the last thing you had planned
Out of the blue clear sky"

Skookumchuk said...

knucklehead:

I was once on a train between Bellinzona, in the Italian part of Switzerland, and Venice. It was Carnival time. And Bellinzona had lost a soccer match to Venice due to a disputed call by the referee. The chant was "Bellinzona, Campione, E Solo Iluzione!" Soon the empty wine bottles were rolling down the aisle. When we pulled in to the Venice train station, all hell broke loose.

It was wonderful, actually.

Buddy Larsen said...

That's a HARD rain, gonna fall.

Skookumchuk said...

And Bellinzona had won a soccer match . . .

Sorry, must be the pineapple likker.

Buddy Larsen said...

you mean the 12 1/2 cups of Vodka.

(ah, sh*t, that was shposh ta be TWO an' a half)

Peter UK said...

Come along now young Larsen,you know there is no drinking on Haj duty,you can get stone,but no drinking.

Buddy Larsen said...

damn, there goes my right hand.

Peter UK said...

Use a atraw.