Saturday, September 03, 2005

Catastrophe

Around 1000 Iraqis were killed in a catastrophic incident. The government members & the religious leaders made use of different reasons to describe what happened. I can say that the first to be held responsible for what happened are the governmental officials & the clerics. The clerics are trying to make use of their followers in political matters. The Guardian said:
"Shia leaders routinely encourage huge turnouts as a demonstration of their community's power."
This is true. Each cleric tries to show how many people will comply with his call to head for religious occasions. Muqtada Al-Sadr called his followers to attend this Shia celebration causing, according to some reports, up to 1 million people converged on Kadhimiya, a Shia district in northern Baghdad. These clerics are not ready to admit their fault. Anyhow, Muqtada issued a statement addressing his followers that it is not an obligation to attend such occasions during the coming days, to avoid any probability of a future disaster. He didn't admit a fault, but at least he is trying to avoid another one. Another cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, a leader of one of the Shia parties in government, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq said:
"We hold the terrorists, Saddamists and radical extremists, responsible for what happened,"
He is trying not to confront his responsibility, and of the clerics like him, by blaming others. It can be noticed in people's words:
"Survivors interviewed by the Guardian said they heard no shout about a suicide bomber, and that the stampede seemed to be the result of too many people swarming into a confined space, with no effort to control the flow by police, soldiers or marshals."

It is the acceptable story by Iraqis because:
"There was no immediate sign of a sectarian backlash and few people expected an impact on next month's referendum on a draft constitution."
And
"Despite sectarian tensions in the area, residents from the Sunni Arab district of Adhamiya rushed to help, pulling people from the water, providing drinks and donating blood, said one Shia, Ali Naji, 37."

An earlier incident on that day can be attributed to terrorists:
"Mortars had landed near the shrine at about 8am local time, killing seven people and wounding dozens, but two hours later huge throngs continued tramping towards the two gilded domes."
What happened on the bridge no one would be blamed for it but the governmental officials, since:
"Not in doubt was the woeful organisation of the commemoration. It had been known for months that a vast crowd - some put it as large as a million strong - was due to descend on the 16th-century shrine, and that it would struggle to pass the narrow alleys and souks. Yet police and soldiers were thinly spread and focused on intercepting suicide bombers. No one appeared to be in control, said the survivors who spoke to the Guardian."

Iraqis learned several lessons as an outcome of the disaster:
"Slumped in hospital beds, they watched government officials pass the blame to insurgents, and some shook their heads. They felt that incompetence, not sectarianism, was the cause. The only gleam in a day
of darkness, said Mr Naji, the civil servant, was that Sunnis from Adhamiya district, which faces the shrine, rushed to help. "They rescued people. They gave us water, food. They donated their blood."
If there is to be a Shia backlash it is likely to be directed at a Shia-led government already blamed for shortages of electricity, fuel and clean water."
One of the security measures was to block the bridge at its end by establishing a checkpoint there, causing thousands of people to be wedged on the bridge. Huge masses of people need, always, to be controlled and ordered, since it is natural, in the sense that panicking human beings tend to stampede, whether at football matches in secure western countries or during mass religious ceremonies.
I can not put aside my suspicion that a bunch of yobs, amid the crowds on the bridge, were trying to make fun by shouting "there is a suicide bomber".

3 Comments:

Blogger Papa Ray said...

Ignore the comment spam.

Hey,

Long time no see. I have good excuses though. I won't go into them now.

It seems that almost every year crowds get out of control in many different countries at many different events.

Many times it is faulty or overloaded equipment, or structures that is the cause.

Other times, it is as you said, it is the nature of the human when a threat or danger is percieved.

Whatever the root cause, the loss of life is so wasteful, so unnecessary, so depressing.

I wonder how it was in the distant past, without the news media, only the town oracles would pass the word of yet another terrible accident.

The journey of man to find himself and his maker is both a reward and a trial.

My best wishes and prayers for you and yours.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

5:31 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Here is one of your close by sources of hate and recruitment for the "Murder Bombers"


Oh and in case you were not aware of it, the south of your country is being taken over by Iran.

Read these entries by Steven Vincent, who was MURDERED by the Iranian thugs who work for the Iraqi Police.


Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ibn_Alrafidain,

Thank you for your account of the bridge tragedy. I think that yours is one of the most objective. People--whether in Iraq or in the US--are too quick to use disasters, like the bridge tragedy or the hurricane that struck the US Gulf coast, to pin blame on political opponents. I favor the Reconstruction of Iraq ('reconstruction' is not exactly the right word, but I can't think of a better one; the capital 'R' alludes to the period after the American Civil War, specifically in the South of the US). I have been quick to blame the bridge disaster on the terrorists who mortared the shrine a few hours before the attack. I am beginning to think that placing blame may be doubtful and is even more likely to be premature.

Michael in Framingham

3:00 AM  

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