"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Superbowl Sunday

Satan 244, Pilgrims 0

From the Associated Press (italics mine):

Stampede Kills 244 at Hajj Pilgrimage

At least 244 people were trampled to death and hundreds more hurt Sunday under the crush of worshippers in one of the deadliest disasters during the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

The stampede occurred during the stoning of the devil, an emotional and notoriously perilous hajj ritual. Pilgrims frantically throw rocks, shout insults or hurl their shoes at three stone pillars — acts that are supposed to demonstrate their deep disdain for Satan.

Safety measures were in place at the site — one where fatal stampedes have been frequent — but "caution isn't stronger than fate," said Saudi Hajj Minister Iyad Madani. "All precautions were taken to prevent such an incident, but this is God's will."

The same area was the scene of similar deadly incidents in 1998, 2001 and last year.

Calling America "the greatest Satan," Egyptian pilgrim Youssef Omar threw pebbles at one pillar on which someone had scrawled "USA."