Pakistan International Airlines is facing some blowback over a goat sacrifice. The carrier resumed turboprop service this week following a crash earlier in the month and, as part of that process, ground staff in Islamabad sacrificed a black goat. The traditional sacrifice is believed to help ward off accidents and that’s where the mocking comes in. Which is a shame.
— Geo English (@geonews_english) December 18, 2016
No, I don’t think that sacrificing a goat makes flight operations safer. But I also really don’t mind that ground staff are choosing to follow traditions that they believe have historically added value and which have zero impact otherwise. Superstition (or religion) can be surprisingly useful at helping to convince people that it is worth paying attention to the checklists because things are going to work correctly so long as you do.
I also cannot help but wonder a bit about the bias shown in such judgments. The goat sacrifice is an offering to the gods, a plea for protection and guidance. How different is that from a Maori Haka performance celebrating the launch of a new airline route to New Zealand?
Or a Chinese Dragon dance opening a trade show?
Each is based on centuries-old traditions and the presence or absence of any will almost certainly not affect a flight, route, conference, sporting event, war battle or whatever they’re performed prior to. Yet only some get mocked. Which is a shame. But, hey, racism is apparently stylish these days.
Header image: PIA AtR-42 courtesy of Pakistan International Airlines
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