Tag Archives failure

The Mecca Pilgrims Deaths. Yet another stampede

The Mecca Pilgrims Deaths. Yet another stampede

A lot has been written and debated about the tragic and inexcusable events in Mecca which has claimed close to one thousand souls with many more injured. We don’t know what the final tally is, because currently the Saudi official sources have stopped reporting the numbers. Hajj, of course is one of the five pillars of Islam and is demanded of every Muslim to perform once in their lifetime if they are capable to do so.

Saudi emergency personnel stand near bodies of Hajj pilgrims at the site where at least 717 were killed and hundreds wounded in a stampede in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, at the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia on September 24, 2015. The stampede, the second deadly accident to strike the pilgrims this year, broke out during the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual, the Saudi civil defence service said. AFP PHOTO / STR / Getty Images

The reactions to the most recent Mecca pilgrims deaths I’ve come across generally are either apologists trying to shift the blame to the pilgrims themselves, their nationality – thus being completely racist – as well as blaming their countries of origin whom they say are responsible for educating their citizens before they embark on the pilgrimage; through to those who squarely blame the Saudi regime labelling it as incompetent and fatalistic and should never be allowed to run this holy event in the Muslim calendar.

mecca-deaths-bbc-historyThe number of tragedies in recent history certainly gives the latter thoughts some credibility as the cycle of deaths and more importantly their cause isn’t stopping giving rise to the fact that the Saudis aren’t learning from experiences, or if they are, they’re not adapting their ways to ensure that more tragedies won’t occur in the future.

Another opinion goes further and touches upon the Hajj itself is a business and a major source of revenue for Saudi and almost state that the pilgrims themselves and the event itself is a side consideration. There is no doubt that these opinions are harsh and I can understand the anger surrounding the issue. People’s lives are precious, and if they seem to have gone in vain, the pain is even harder to come to terms with.

“Munich’s Octoberfest is an event attended by seven million drunks annually and we didn’t hear of any deaths due to stampedes although all are drunk”

There are other comparisons. People ask, how is it that Octoberfest in Munich attracts seven million drunks and we never hear of stampedes and deaths? There are other large gatherings around the world that do not suffer such a fate either. According to ARC (pdf), 30
pilgrims attend
, 20 million pilgrims in Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Karbala in Iraq welcomes 10 million worshippers annually for the Arba’een Commemoration and the event passes generally peacefully and without much regular incidents save for some terrorist attacks and even those have been mitigated, yet in Mecca with just two million, tragedies are the norm, and so is blaming the pilgrims rather than the system.

A safe and secure pilgrimage is a must and it’s high time that it becomes a reality. This holy Muslim right has been going on for over 1,400 years, one would think that a system to safely run it would have been absolutely perfected by now. Yet the evident truth is that it hasn’t. As Saudi Arabia has taken it upon itself to be the custodian of the two holy mosques and the Hajj, it is incumbent upon them to ensure that this event is regularised as clock-work and be safe for everyone who wants to perform it. It is only through an acceptance of accountability, criticism – regardless of how harsh it may seem – and clear definitions of responsibilities can these issues be resolved for the short as well as the long term. It will also help to refuse to ascribe these issues to fate in any way, but work though them with logic and a transparent evaluation of the facts to clearly identify and repair what has gone wrong.

My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who perished.


Loving Failure

“Loss of face” is the single most damaging facet of Arab existence. Because of it, wars have been waged, egos tormented and even dishonour exhumed from the most unlikely crevasses of our psyche.

We cannot be seen to fail.


Yet, how are we to progress if we refuse to recognise that in order to succeed we must embrace failure?

Is this why, then, we are at the dire straits we find ourselves in? No original output for centuries. The only contribution we have is the creation of a cult of death and an invitation to regress 1500 years to a bygone era we romantically hold as golden? Refusing to understand that its patina has long lost its luster, not because of the ideals propagated then, but by the insular interpretation currently applied. Un-challenged by our intelligentsia and the masses alike for fear of reprisals by the self-styled righteous few?

It is high time that we disassociate ourselves from old ideals. From this church of stagnation. And push forth with new ideas and embrace failure. Without which no success could ever come forth.

Currently, the prerequisites are all in place: internal economic growth, a rapidly changing political climate and the inherent acceptance of competitive politics all contribute to this opportunity.

Are we good enough to grab hold of the monster’s tail and tame it to our whims? Or shall we continue in the quagmire of tensions that distance us from concentrating on the real issues which we must resolve or just simply accept to go forth?

All of this resolutely contributes to our regression in this modern age. To progress, we need to embrace change and never fear revolutionary interpretations or our situations.

We need to rise above the status quo.

The rest of the world are not our enemies.

They are just frustrated at our obstinacy.


The poppies didn’t work

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I planted three kinds of poppies in seed trays on Sept 21st and none of them came up. Unfortunately I have had to give up on them; the ones I tried were:


I think the reason they failed is probably due to (1) over watering, and (2) overzealous with the plant food! Even others didn’t fair very well actually except for the Calendulas and Antirrhinums of the same batch linked above.