Friday, January 13, 2006

It's time to bring in Disney

If you have never been to the Middle East or any other Muslim run area you really have no idea why we are just not shocked at all by the headlines that 345 people were killed in a stampede during Haj. There is no order like you are used to in the West. People don't patiently wait in line for anything. They bunch up, yell, try and throw any weight around that they may have and are in general just quite rude about it. The more educated ones are not (The UAE and Bahrain are the exceptions) but the majority are like this. It is just not a patient culture. I know, I know, there are some of you who are going to take offense to this and get all twisted up but these are my personal reflections after a total of 10 years in this part of the world.

The history of these incidents would make you think that the Ministry of Haj (That's right, they have an entire government department for this!) would have figured out by now that it is just about impossible to ram 2 million people past one wall the size of a Peterbuilt. Take the amount of people and add the mind set that ,"Hey, let's all throw rocks at this wall at noon and then have lunch!" This leads up to crowding like people trying to get into Sky Bar on Grammy night.

There have been incidents that make the crowd rush for a Who concert in Cinncinnati look like a Pee Wee football gang tackle. There have been hundreds killed on a regular basis and back in the early 1990's there were 1400 killed in one day. The area is too small. The infrastructure does not support the number of people. There are several elements of Haj that a pilgrim is supposed to make. When Islam was formed it was possible for the founders to imagine that the entire world they knew of could conduct such a ritual. As there was at most about 1 million people in the Arabian Pennisula at that time it was a doable feat. There is no way they would all come the same year.

Now they have 2 million fly in and another million locals who come. It's almost like the week between Christmas and New Year at Disneyland. Everyone knows that is the most crowded time there is as it is a holiday and you have all the visitors in town for the Rose Bowl and Rose Bowl parade. So far as I know the only solution I see to all of this is simple:

HAVE THE MINISTRY OF HAJ HIRE THE DISNEY CORPORATION. No one else can conduct crowd control like Disney. Think about it. NASA hired them to create Space Center Houston to take the pressure off from visitors to the Johnson Space Center. They now have a tourist attraction that is educational, informative, fun, and most importantly, is a revenue generator. Think about it. Disney can get 200K folks through the Indiana Jones ride in a day by using their pre ticketing process. Once you are in the park you go to a kiosk and punch in the rides you want to go on and print tickets for certain times. That way you don't spend hours and hours waiting in line. Instead you can do more important things like cruise the gift shops and by those stupid looking Mickey ears while sipping your $5.00 coke.

I have an image of it now. There is this ticket dispenser at the foot of the bridge like the one at In-n-Out burger. You pull your tab and it gives you a number. You wait until called. It calls out something like, "Numbers 350,000 through 360,000 will be served now. This way only 10K are trying to push past instead of 100k at once.

They can also use some of the Ski Industry models. No one wants their expensive skis ripped off by sticking them in the snow outside the lodge where some low rent snow boarder can nab them and sell them for a case of beer. Instead you give them to the ski check. There is a pimple faced kid who works 8 hours a day, 3 days a week in exchange for a season pass (Comes out to about .30 cents an hour) and he/she takes your skis and poles and gives you a ticket in exchange. Never mind that fact that when you come up you can point to any set of skis and they will give them to you which means free upgrades. At least you have peace of mind and there are no pesky tripping hazards when you are trying to get into the lodge. It's even more important after several hot toddies and you are coming out of the lodge.

With enough planning they could add people movers and use it like a ride. They could invent Hajjiland. They could use the Batman ride at Magic Mountain for the model. Everyone gets strapped in with their feet dangling and as you pass that evil stone wall everyone hurls their pebbles. A contraption below which acts like a golf ball retriever at a driving range collects the pebbles which allows the government to recycle them. After another billion or so pilgrims they are going to start running out of pebbles.

I know this is making fun of a tragedy but you know what, I'm just not a very forgiving person. In the name of this nutty religion they are killing people every day. The fact that they can't even conduct ceremonies in any kind of order should tell you something else about their religion and culture. Draw your own conclusions.


Anonymous Don Cox said...

What proportion of the people on the Haj are literate? I wonder if your ticket idea would work if a large proportion of the crowd is illiterate. I think the only solution is to build pilgrim centres in other countries to take most of the load.

After all, God is everywhere. He is not only in Mecca.

But I suppose the Saudis are looking to the Haj as their main source of income after the oil dries up, so they would oppose any local centres in Indonesia etc.

5:45 PM  
Blogger flythemig29 said...

Right you are Don. The entire idea behind Haj is that the pilgriims must come to Mecca and go through the series of acts which culminates in getting a hair cut. Just think what an impact it would have on the hair salon business!

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Fritz said...

There is another solution. Look the other way and let our only real friend in the area "FlytheF-18"!

6:58 AM  
Blogger flythemig29 said...

Roger that Fritz! Fly the F-15, F-18, F-16, B-52, B-2, F-117 and AH-64!

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had to catch planes in Saudia Arabia, the local kind, and I don't think Disney is up to it. They don't have to shoot most of their customers to keep the rest of them in line. I don't know, maybe a taser would work.

The locals there just expect the chaos.


3:02 AM  
Anonymous the TRUE fuhrer's SFF on account of the real developers of Hajjiland - "enjoy your Hajj" said...


8:30 PM  

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