Thursday, July 16, 2009

Effectiveness vs. Efficiency and Zero Days Without an Accident

First, read this article Decoding Egypt: On Effectiveness and Efficiency by Nael Shama from the Daily News Egypt website July 15, 2009.

I think this quote sums it up best:

"These intense emotions are, however, hardly felt in other vital fields,
which makes one wonder: is there no national dream in Egypt other than winning a
football cup? As a Third World country, Egypt faces serious economic and social
problems, the least important of which is more crucial to the wellbeing of
people than the performance of the football team. If the time and effort
dedicated to supporting the team was used to eradicate poverty, develop slum
areas, or increase production, we would have had a very different Egypt."

So, when it comes to matters of human rights, Egyptians are pretty much apathetic unless the matter is related to football or an isolated attack on the "sacred veil". Case in point: this article from AlMasry AlYoum (July 16, 2009) Bulldozer Squashes Worker:

Bulldozer squashes worker
A worker died on Tuesday, squashed accidentally by a bulldozer, during a tour by the housing minister and the Giza governor of development work at the Maryoutiya bridge. The worker's name was not released by the authorities or the Hassan Allam Contracting Company where the worker served. Madiha Hussein, an eyewitness, told Al-Masry Al-Youm residents were shocked to see the worker dying during drilling work in front of Al Mashrabeya Towers on Felfela Al Maryoutiya Road. "It turned out one of the bulldozers ran over the worker and killed him instantaneously," she said. "The company officials ignored the accident completely, and left the dead body on the side of the road covered in a blanket." For his part, the hea(d) of Haram district, Sami Abdel Fattah, denied knowledge of the accident, saying the minister and governor had visited the top of the bridge, but didn't tour below it, where the accident happened. "This accident has got nothing to do with the visit," he added.

Am I supposed to believe that because the accident had nothing to do with the housing Minister's visit that it was OK to leave the body on the side of the road covered in a blanket? Never mind that because of the lack of common sense and infrastructure, accidents like this (and others) are just waiting to happen on a daily basis in Egypt. However, it seems to be easier to let accidents happen and cover them up than it is to put simple safety standards in place that would help prevent them in the first place. Think about that for a minute.

Now, consider what would have happened if the guy who had gotten squashed had been a football player with the National Team. Kind of scary, isn't it?

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