Tuesday, January 28

Exorcism: from movie screens to real life

It was a search result on Google actually that brought me originally to this piece of news- "The exorcist of Azerbaijan". A video posted on YouTube, receiving some 180,000 views (at the time of the writing) shows how a young woman "treated" by some man who believes himself to be an exorcist. He reads verses from Koran, smacks her on her head and hits her several times on her shoulder, then burns her with matches and so on. At the end, the "devil" speaks to the man and reaching an agreement leaves the body of the young woman. She falls asleep on the couch. In another video the girl appears perfectly healthy and speaks about finding her path with the help of that exorcist man and now willingly living with him for the purposes of her treatment.
Azerbaijani people believe in black magic, witches and superstition. They spend the money they usually don't have on visiting the so-called "healers" in search for answers to their problems, health issues, and possession. Majority of the people are convinced they have been "charmed" (in a negative sense of that word) by evil enemies, relatives, mothers in laws and etc. So it is not surprising that when the video appeared online, while some criticized the video and urged the family to seek professional help, many others took the story as real.

And even the media is on the case- well sort of. A local TV channel ANS invited the family to one of the shows- 'Among the People', where the young woman stares at one of the local "experts" (also known as another exorcist) and starts hissing when that expert starts articulating some weird hand gestures. Yes, all of this happens on TV even with dramatic music in the background and astonished TV host who claims not seeing anything like this ever before. The only sane doctor in the room urges the family to seek professional help but not sure anyone really cared about what he had to say. 

So where does this leave us? Surely that people always have a urge to believe in things. Blaming someone else is always easier than seeking solutions to one's problems. If its health then it must be the full moon, if its money issue it must be the evil neighbor who envied the family buying that new car, if its work issue, it must be the some third power making you look bad and resulting either in you losing your job or not getting the job to begin with and so on and so forth. 

But what it all boils down to is education, our community and of course the media. Surely if that TV host from the very beginning pinned the older brother to the wall (in literal sense that is) telling him what business does he have here at the studio when the girl should be receiving treatment at a professional institution from a professional doctor, who is not by the way, a self-proclaimed exorcist or a healer instead of playing the role of a shocked TV host, perhaps there would be a different kind of story there. 

Surely there is always need for drama in our societies (whatever that means) but at a cost of one's life? Really, is that worth it?

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