Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is there a spin doctor in the house?

Not that it would help. It used to be that the Emirates were pretty much an insiders' secret. Then came the Dubai Ports fiasco and the Sandlands were discovered by Fox News. There followed reports that hinted (quite irresponsibly and hysterically and without any factual basis, right?) a dependence on exploited if not abused migrant workers. More eyes turned to look at the Emirates, some in awed wonder, others with a slightly cynical squint.

And then came Tuesday's carnage.

ArabianBusiness says:

The UAE’s worst ever road accident is a very human tragedy. There are conflicting reports on the number of dead and injured, but it seems certain that the death toll will run to double figures.

Over 300 people are injured, most of whom were innocently travelling on labour camp buses to the construction sites of Dubai. Eyewitnesses report that cars were travelling at over 150 kph along roads with visibility as low as 20 metres in early morning fog. An accident was inevitable; a tragedy of the magnitude seen on Tuesday, far from improbable.

The cause of the accident, which is rightly the subject of an extensive investigation by UAE authorities, is likely to be found to be predominately human error or, put more bluntly, human stupidity.

KippReport taunts:

The 300-car pile-up on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi road has made the news in Europe, Australia and India. TV viewers will have seen pictures more typical of a disaster movie than a car crash. They will be scratching their heads wondering how anyone can drive at 120kmph when visibility is down to 5 meters. With the stopping distance at this speed being around 200 meters, maybe, they'll think, this is some new kind of Middle East suicide plot.

'Human stupidity' may well have been the main cause of the tragedy on Tuesday. But a modern society is obliged to ensure that stupid people do not put others at risk. There aren't stupid people flying Etihad's jets, there aren't stupid people engineering Dubai's skyscrapers.

There aren't stupid people in charge of the telecommunications and ISP strategies, there aren't stupid people setting the policies of the RTA...

What? Don't all shout at once for heaven's sake!

What will be the next Sandlands clusterf*** to hit headlines worldwide?

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