In the last few days, scores of people have embarked on the Hajj pilgrimage. Two million Muslims from multiple nations descended on Mecca to complete Islamic rituals.
This has tragically culminated in the death of hundreds.
I’m currently travelling in Greece, meaning access to wi-fi and news is sporadic (check privilege here), but when I first caught the story, the death toll stood at 200 or so. At the time of writing this, it’s closer to 800 – spanning over 5 nationalities. I dread to think what I will find the next opportunity I get to touch base with the modern world.
Any international event involving millions of people is always going to be a logistical and safety nightmare. And everyone has a right to their traditions. However, you can’t help but succumb to a feeling of hopeless incredulity at the sheer pointlessness of it all. If the ideas responsible for this ritual had died some time ago, as they had every obligation to, perhaps these poor people needn’t have done so instead.