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Source:Mena

Just read the news here that the General Commander of Dubai Police, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim stating that “The Dubai traffic police last year managed to reduce traffic-related deaths to 12.8 per 100,000, from 17.8 in 2008 and 21 in 2007, he said. This year, the target is to reduce the number to 11.8.” Didn’t the population of UAE reduce in 2009 with the recession here? Did they achieve viable results?

Tamim further added traffic safety will be a priority for the police for the next 10 years, for which they will act under a four-pronged strategy.

i, Correcting common mistakes

ii,Road monitoring

iii, Vehicle monitoring

iv, Public road safety awareness

Wouldn’t it be better to put Road safety awareness first? It would have been much easier to change the behaviors of drivers using time tested methods of prevention than deploying police to monitor the maniac drivers?

According to General Tamim, “Statistics have shown that improper driving habits cause 90 per cent of traffic accidents in Dubai, while faulty road engineering contributes to another three per cent

I dont know the source of this stats but it is enough to create a sense of urgency to start tackling the issue by changing the attitude fo the drivers.

Source: www.surayafoundation.com

Thanks for voting!

Thank you for the support! The petition has officially received 200 plus signatures to gain credibility and forward to the Traffic Department of RAK.  I contacted a journalist who has been helpful throughout the campaign Anna Zacharias who suggested to meet the authorities in person which would be more effective to send the message home and convince them of the gravity of the problem.

According to national newspaper, in 2008, E11 of RAK had the second highest number of accidents resulting in death or injury and the third highest number of deaths after the Emirates and Ittihad highways, accounting for seven of the emirate’s 97 deaths that year. There are six u-turns in a four km stretch which had history of reckless drivers wrecking the roads. The authorities keep blaming the drivers and do less to prevent the accidents there by closing the u-turn.

Thanks to all the people from twitter, forums, friends and colleagues to sign the petition, I will try to reach Sheikh Saud of RAK to convince him about the gravity of the situation and finally get our efforts to fruition by closing the u-turns to prevent accidents.

My next step is to make foundation which spreads safety awareness through media by making pictures and radio ads which will hit the emotional core and change the attitude of drivers. The foundation will be named as Suraya Foundation. If you do know anybody in radio stations, great graphic artists ready to do pro bono work please contact me at founder (at) surayafoundation.com. Read this blog for more updates. 

Update (28 April 2010): Formed the preliminary website  of Suraya Foundation (note it may experience usual downtime as it may be updating).

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Her last bath

In 3 generations of my family, all of deaths were due to old age related illness, hers was the first death due to accident. We thought we were blessed and invulnerable , what ever happened to our Guardian Angel on that faithful day I dont know, death had never been so close. I still couldnt believe I would go to my younger sister’s funeral. Just on April there was going to be her convocation for which she had worked 3 long years.  Whatever was  the case there was an element more than fate involved in her death. Me and my parents atleast wanted to make sure she is to be buried in full Muslim rites. My aunt and my neighbour left early to graveyard to wash her body which is not for the faint hearted.

Suspicions

I head back to morgue room to meet “Ibrahim” the caretaker to take out the body for bathing. When I see the body again I see bruises on her nose and I wonder if they had taken her body out during the night. I was waiting to hear from my aunt to find anything unusual. More than 500 people many whom I havent seen for generations showed up. Less than a day and the word spread like wildfire. Her friends from her high school, college and university all showed up. The funeral was at 5:00 p.m after the prayer. It was hard to find a parkign space and walk in the crowd with familiar faces I havent seen in generations – former teachers , friends, neighbours and acquaintances.

Final goodbye

After the prayer I went in to see her body, my mom apparently fainted again.  She had to be taken to emergency. I go in the room where her body was kept and caress her head one last time. She looked beautiful than ever with mascara on her eyes, dark hair and fair as an angel. She was ready to go to the new world.

The undertaker began to push away strangers who just bunked in. Apparently according to tradition non-relatives aren’t allowed to see the body after bathing.  Her body was placed on wooden structure with four people carrying it. Her body was ice cold and stiff. I carried one side and my cousins on other three. We headed outside to pray for the dead. It was very big crowd and I hope God accepted their prayers.

Now was the time for her final good bye.  We carried the structure to the grave.  I got down to the grave along with undertaker and my neighbour. Black veil was covered over our heads to veil from others. I carried my sister’s body one last time and as I was preparing to lie her down, it reminded me of the times she used to cry when she was a kid and I used to carry her to bed and make her sleep. I wish I could wake her up but she was going to wake up in The Source’s House. Everything changes when somebody younger than you , near to you passes away. I never felt death so close. Her death changed everything for me internally and I felt as if this world, the time and this moment were temporary and we have to head back to the Source someday.

We make sure she faced Kabah, Muslim holy place and placed stones to align her body. Then with a sigh we cover the crypt with concrete structures and clays so that it is complete darkness inside and she is undisturbed.  I get up from the grave with my heart heavy , still can’t cry as people start covering the grave. The priest prays for her and ask forgiveness and teaches her the questions she should answer on the Day of Judgement.  We water and put some pebbles on grave.  My cousins breakdown but inside me I feel frustration, disapointment and anger as I got a feeling  this was far from over.

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