Symbolically, a scapegoat was sent into the wilderness in a biblical ceremony to bear the guilt for others. In our day, philosophical anthropologists describe the phrase “scapegoat mechanism” as a misinformation procedure. As maintained by the theories of scapegoat psychology, aggression is displaced on an easy villain.
* * *
Below the foothills of the settlement, unknown spies gathered to map and prepare a surprise assault. The community encampment, high above, gave fretful attention to an assessor’s forewarning. Some shuddered. “We’re doomed,” said a counselor. “They’ll return with an army of soldiers.”
“Not so,” replied the high priest. “Send Azazel,” he waved to a sickly goat, far-off outside the camp. It lay on its face with spongy waste oozing from its head. The high priest selected a troop to get ready the goat Azazel. No wearing of leather or wool and linen woven together was allowed within the group, for that would bring the poor health of Azazel into the encampment. The entire population was not to eat in public.
Women in the troop were skilled in the talent of ornamenting the body, dying the hair, and painting the face and the eyebrows. They applied the fine art of beautifying Azazel by dye and paint.
Workers made a vestment of golden braces. They strapped the ailing goat’s withered legs and varnished its brittle horns. They fastened a scarlet woolen thread, needle stitched, to close the moldy sore on Azazel’s head. The woolen thread was extremely long, since Azazel was sightless from diseases that affected its nervous system, and needed to be guided toward the enemy position. Ten booths were constructed at intervals along the road leading from the community encampment to the steep mountain rock face.
“Men were stationed at intervals along the way, and as soon as the goat was thrown down the precipice, they signaled to one another by means of kerchiefs or flags, until the information reached the high priest.”
In the foothills below, an unfamiliar enemy witnessed an awe-inspiring scene. The spirit of a Golden Fleece all of a sudden frolicked amid the foliage. The man looked up again and marveled at the sight of a living golden-haired lamb. He eagerly called his comrades to come together around the charmed lively fleece. Its eyeball twinkled with balsam and its jaw blushed with berries. Its yellow coat had the scent of a sugary fragrance. As if by the mystical, a breathing Golden Fleece had become visible to the spies like a triumph omen. The adversaries hurriedly called upon their made-up gods and had their pagan ways with Azazel. They geared up a char-grill for their conquest feast.
The story of Azazel cannot be fully told in the company of children. It is a source of impurity, desolation and corrupted manners. Half the distance to the ravine below, Azazel’s limbs were discovered shattered and strewn with its girder horseshoes, jeweled rings, and fitted buckles. Azazel’s scorched remains were afterward found at the bottom of the valley of the rock of Bet Hadudo. At the break of day, profuse watery discharges and vomiting beset the enemy spies. By the twilight they were lifeless.
* * *
After the events of September 11, the Bush-Cheney administration and its coalition partners declared a Global War on Terror. Not only did the American government pledge to overcome the “cold-blooded killers,” but it also urged other nations not to offer safe haven to these terrorists. President Bush said in a famous speech, “If you harbor a terrorist, you’re equally as guilty as the terrorist.”
“Send Hammi,” the lady of the arid expanse thought.
Others viewed her as a prophetess, but to some, she was a queen of the desert.
“Hammi?” the tall general said with a surprised look on his face. “He’s the worst of the worst.”
“That’s what they want don’t they?” she softly replied. “Worst of the worst. Let’s obey the American demands. Open our reformatory doors and let loose the foul birds that once disturbed us. Send them to the front line camps for the Americans to take delivery of.”
She looked at the outlying meadow. “We’ll be rid of many troubles. The Americans want authority of brave men. Do not enter a pointless fight to defend indecent rabble and ruffians.”
“Send Hammi,” she contended and weathered a tearful look.
Some time ago, “hamam” Hammi ran the homeboy terror gangs through the old streets of East Jerusalem. He was a ferocious slasher who sought wages for low jobs. Hammi never claimed to be a Muslim or a Jew.
“What exactly did he do?” a police officer new to the post once imprudently asked.
“He sculpted with slaughter knives,” the law enforcement chief harshly replied. “One of his examples had a garland of flowers and a folded card.”
“I’m sorry I asked,” the officer considerately reacted.
“We’re all sorry regarding Hammi,” the police chief continued. “His house was finally bulldozed because he caught a bug doctors couldn’t diagnose or cure. A hydra beast growing in him. It has to be surgically cut and trimmed at regular intervals. And it’s catching. Doctors say Hammi has an unsolved syndrome that inflicts the worst of the worst.”
* * *
The Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge has contributed greatly to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and cosmology. One of its astronomers coined the term “Big Bang.” For decades it has also investigated the likelihood of diseases from space. The details involve the incubation of microorganisms in comets that eventually cross Earth’s pathway.
Today more scientists are suggesting that viruses and bacteria responsible for peculiar infectious diseases might arrive at the Earth from space. They are studying cometary bacteria that enter the Earth’s atmosphere from space fallout.
“A recent experiment published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that a microbe can turn even more dangerous in space than on Earth. In that study, a bacterium particularly nasty for humans — salmonella — was shown to become more virulent after just 83 hours of growing in space.” (Barry E. DiGregorio, “Deadly Microbes From Outer Space,” Discover, February 2008)
The popular “Men in Black” films starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith laughably depict extraterrestrial hydra beasts hiding in human bodies. They helped foster an urban myth that government agencies supposedly carry out secret operations here on Earth in order to keep us safe from aliens, and the worst bugs.
When the government declared a War on Terror, the general public thought the “worst of the worst” would be examined under strict supervision with the utmost concern. The Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge, for example, had a large amount of data and related apparatus to lend out. But it was scandalously revealed that the only basic tools the US interrogators were given to confront a possible “Azazel danger” consisted of rubber gloves, lumber boots, and a guidebook for nude discomfort positions. An apparent lab error?
The belief that the “worst of the worst” will feel shame when unclothed is mistaken. It gives prospect for the nastiest bugs to contaminate secondary hosts. Had the writers of the antiterrorist interrogation guidebook consulted the Office of the Surgeon General, they would have known that a nude discussion without reason increases the chances of secondary host microbial infections by up to 90 percent. Who wrote the guidebook?
Much of the medical community was displeased by so-called water board regulations in conjunction with the “worst of the worst.” Most hydra-type bugs will grow down, passing out through the bowels. But the syndrome of Hammi grows up, and must be cut (see: “What’s the Berghof Beast?”). An arbitrary spurt of water and mucus on or after asphyxiation may be a highly dangerous cause of secondary host infection. Regrettably, the outliner of the guidebook seems less of a scientist and more of a medieval dungeon furniture salesman.
A secondary host infection will appear as a cyst or lump in the body, usually around the thighs and upper arms. For the “hydra bug” to complete its lifecycle and reproduce, the secondary host must be bleeding, thus transferring its genetic material through direct contact or various “splatter breeze” effects to another primary host, such as Hammi.
Unluckily, the guidebook seemingly took occasion to expose US interrogators to blood-borne pathogens without consulting the Surgeon General. Bees will learn to aim directly at flowers having the best nectar and pollen. If “Azazel bugs” use comparable instincts to find their secondary hosts, surgically removing their cysts may lessen the chance probabilities of deliberate hemorrhage.
Professor Stephen Hawking recently said that if we were ever discovered by an alien civilization, they would probably conquer us. But don’t imagine space ships and laser cannons. They will conquer us with a microbe. Will the Earth’s governments know how to face up to it, when it comes to the worst of the worst?
(SEPTEMBER 2010) PETER FOT K KAPNISTOS, ICARIAN SEA, GR, 83300.