Thursday, June 18, 2009

Train Accident in Dhaka

Colleagues were watching this video on YouTube after the weekly team meeting today and I had to share. (YouTube is blocked at my hotel but not at Grameen Communications--- not sure why. MP3s and movies-even Googling them- are blocked at my hotel as well). Yesterday afternoon a train collided with a bus and 2-3 cars  after the bus and a car went beyond the barrier and got stuck in traffic. Apparently one woman was killed.

The comments on the video show a mix of compassion, despair, responsibility, mean-spiritedness and stupid racism. One must take YouTube comments with a grain of salt or not read them at all, as they quickly become flamewars and I personally find the hateful comments vexing. However, I do have to agree with those that wonder how the camera managed to be set up just so to capture the accident... and what could be done to help people become more responsible drivers.

One hears of the many accidents in Bangladesh and other than the many re-patched dents on nearly every bus, this video represents the first accident or accident aftermath I've seen. In Qatar it seemed one saw an accident or a wrecked car every other day. Thank goodness Qatar doesn't have any railways (as far as I can recall)- or we'd probably have similar accidents with people trying to beat the train or inch a few meters forward.

Driving or participating in traffic in Qatar and Bangladesh (and India and Egypt and Morocco ...) gives me new appreciation for American respect of driving laws. We'll describe someone as a reckless driver or Wisconsin folk will talk about those crazy Illinois drivers...we don't know squat about reckless. I recall seeing SUVs late at night in Qatar take entire roundabouts on their two right wheels... Others' reckless driving habits will rub off or force you to become a defensive and aggressive driver- anticipating that at any moment someone will do something stupid. Others who have returned to the States have warned me that I'll need to watch my driving when I get back, as I'll be in the habit of driving faster and being more 'creative' in my driving. I think I'll combat that by a lack of vehicle. :)

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