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September 05, 2007

The scapegoats

I guess this isn't so bad. It's not as if the pilots were doing it.

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Officials at Nepal's state-run airline have sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, following technical problems with one of its Boeing 757 aircraft, the carrier said Tuesday.

Nepal Airlines, which has two Boeing aircraft, has had to suspend some services in recent weeks due the problem.

The goats were sacrificed in front of the troublesome aircraft Sunday at Nepal's only international airport in Kathmandu in accordance with Hindu traditions, an official said.
(hat tip: fee simple) On the other hand, if this is the sole method of performing aircraft maintenance, you'll have to add Nepal to the list of countries I have no intention of visiting.

According to the BBC: "The offering was made to Akash Bhairab, the Hindu god of sky protection, whose symbol is seen on the company's planes." This really puts it in context. The symbol of the Hindu sky god is on the plane. Naturally, you'd try to fix the plane by sacrificing to that god, right? I mean, if TWA had had a picture of Carl Icahn on its jets, wouldn't the mechanics have sacrificed a couple of goats to him?

Unsurprisingly, the Post misses the point with the story, suggesting that "perhaps it's time the U.S. airline industry gave animal sacrifice a try. It certainly seems to make as much sense as taking off your shoes before going through the metal detector (and thank Richard Reid for not stashing the bomb in his underwear.)"

Of course, the Post writer is correct about the arbitrariness of airline security, but I have yet to see evidence that aircraft maintenance is arbitrary, which is why the Nepalese sacrificed the animals in the first place.

And we all know how many birds are sacrificed to jet engines each year. If only we could find a way to sacrifice Ingrid Newkirk instead.