Last week there was a stampede of pilgrims during the Hajj. On the 25th of September, the headline in the Sydney Morning Herald makes it appear that there is no important controversy. The SMH wrote: “Mecca stampede: The Haj tragedy explained”. It says that two witnesses told The Independent that pilgrims were moving in two directions, when chaos ensued. Case closed.
Update: I have prepared a follow up article about some of the accusations that have been raised, but here is a quick introduction.
Muslims are required to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, once in their lifetime if possible. As many as 2 million pilgrims took part this year. There have been tragedies in past years, including fires, stampedes in which people got trampled to death (or seriously injured), and an odd number of plane crashes as pilgrims returned to their home country. Each year many people also die there of heart attacks or other symptoms of old age.
This year, pilgrims wore a bracelet to identify them. Note the African men in this photo, wearing the wrist band.
This year, pilgrims were required, before being granted a visa, to get vaccinated against meningitis, polio, and influenze. In 2013 and ’14 security was contracted to “G4S,” the same company that ‘secures’ asylum seekers to Australia, detailed at Manus Island. It is also the firm that handles Palestinian prisoners within Israel.
Today, many important questions are being raised including the accusation that the “accident” was planned and carried out for a purpose. At the very least seven hundred died, in a stampede near Mina, but some say thousands died.
It is not completely clear what the people died from. There was stampede and so one would imagine injuries would reflect this. People could have also have been overcome by heat and asphyxiation, but an Egyptian doctor suggests something else. In this article I will float one piece of reporting I discovered in the Arabic media, since it is not being widely reported.
Egyptian physician, Dr. Abdul Hamid Fawzi (former adviser to the Minister of Health and Population in Egypt), suggests the use of “poison gas” in the stampede. After visiting many hospitals in search of his missing nephew, he concluded the “injuries” and deaths seem to point to some form of poisoning – with many survivors having loss of memory.
I quote this TRANSLATED version from Arabic of the doctor’s message to King Salman bin Abdul Aziz:
“Today, sir, I had a tragic experience in the journey to find my nephew missing after Mina terrible incident… Through my experience that exceeded more than thirty years in the medical management, I noticed two observations (after visiting all hospitals) of the utmost importance… First observation: The level of service in all hospitals which passed it deserves to be proud of the Kingdom… (his praise, then) The second observation: I noticed, sir, most of the patients I saw for myself that they suffer strange case of amnesia, and not their any scratches or bruises or any injuries, This is not one or two but dozens of cases, which hospitals had to be restricted in the records under the name of (Anonymous), because the patient could not remember his name, or where he is, and also there are dozens of dead …in refrigerators do not (have)… any visible injuries…