Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hajj tragedy: another crime by House of Saud

Here is what my colleague, Gwenn Okruhlik, wrote on Facebook this morning (I cite with her permission):  "The hajj tragedy is not about excessive heat or excessive emotions or the logistical challenges of managing so many pilgrims. It is about the unbridled capitalist expansion of the mosque beyond its capacity and the destruction of historical Mecca. In its essence, hajj is about equality across class, gender, nationality, color. We are all equal before God. Two thin white towels and cheap flip flops. No make up, no jewelry, no briefcase. Just equality before God. Now, it is five star hotels vis a vis tents. Hajj was homogenized in 1979. And the birthplace of the prophet, his first school, his mosque - all turned into parking lots...Some of my richest interviews are from old men in the Hejaz. Who weep openly when remembering Mecca in the day. When the Grand Mosque was a home for curiosity, questions, tolerance among mathabs and sects. They used to used to share lunch in Mecca and argue about life and beliefs and then break bread."