Hassan is the name. Let’s play a game of guess his religion in front of an imaginary crowd. I’m not psychotic I swear, although I guess that’s what a psychotic person would say as well.
100% of my fictive crowd say he’s Muslim. Is he Shiite or Sunni? Let’s say our lovely crowd goes 70-30 for Shiite. All are educated guesses, all are well-reasoned choices. I wouldn’t call such thought process sectarian – after all, they were primed to answer. Our imaginary crowd is 100% wrong.
Hassan is not Muslim. Hassan goes to Church every sunday. He is as religious as they go. He is not eccentric enough to have had a name change. You can say he was born that way.
And yet Hassan is sitting around at home, nearing his 30s, unable to find a job just because of the name his parents decided to give him.
The areas he’s searching in, close to home and familiar, are all Christian. But they don’t believe him when they ask about his religion during job interviews, a question that is getting increasingly popular lately. Companies would definitely not admit to this, obviously.
The #1 rule to get a job in Lebanon is, therefore, to have a name that is appropriate religiously to the region you’re applying to. If you’re a Hassan in Jounieh, odds are you will have a terrible time in getting to the point of receiving a paycheck. Of course, other areas in the country are not exactly better.
It wasn’t enough that most of the jobs in the market today are being taken by highly trained and much less salary demanding Syrian incomers. Lebanese people are having another hurdle develop in front of them lately, apart from all the wastas. Instead of having Lebanese judged by their capacities and qualifications, they are being increasingly judged by the way they pray and, lately, by where they live. And to think I was doubting my friends from Tripoli who were getting increasingly wary of putting up their city of residence on their CVs.
Bass fi a7la men lebnen?