A Lebanese Wasta

There’s nothing like a Lebanese wasta. Sure other countries have “connections” but we have perfected the art of getting places by virtue of who we know.

This won’t be long so sit back and read.

Rami and Fadi are both fresh high school graduates who both got over the required grade limit to apply to the Lebanese army and become officers.
Rami and Fadi both presented to the psychological evaluation part of the grueling entrance exams. Rami passed. Fadi failed. Rami continued his examination process while Fadi stayed home, his hopes of entry gone down the drain.

But behold. Fadi’s relative knows someone who’s ranked high up in the army. Two week after his failure in the psychological exam, Fadi got a phone call to go back and sit for the tests. He failed his medical test due to a deviated septum. It didn’t matter anyway, he was let through to the next phase.

Rami was still passing anyway.

Fadi then had to sit for the written exams required to assess high school knowledge. He got to the examination center without the required ID. As everyone else entered, he sat outside trying to reason with the officers in question but to no avail. 15 minutes passed as other applicants tackled their exams. A couple of phone calls later, he was inside, sitting in the back of the room with the officer observing the exam’s proceedings feeding him the required answers.

Both Rami and Fadi passed those written exams and advanced to the last stage – the personal interview required to get whoever decides to make their choice regarding the 200 or so people who will get all the perks that being a Lebanese officer entails.

A few days later, the news of who was accepted surfaced. Rami – who had passed his exams without the need for outside help – was thrown out. Fadi, who hadn’t passed an exam on his own merits was in. His family celebrated. They threw extravagant luncheons to celebrate the triumph of their son. They bragged about his merits, not knowing that everyone knew the story behind how he got in.

A few years from now, Fadi will become one of those men who – despite not being qualified in the least – can walk all over you.

The above story is 100% correct, apart from the names that have been altered.

Does it matter? Perhaps not. It’s sad though that all the people who are qualified in this country get lost in the shuffle of the lessers who are more connected. I used to think a Lebanese Wasta was the worst thing ever but with each passing day, I’m being forced to reconsider because it seems to be the only way to get a job, to get ahead and to make a life for yourself.

It’s either a wasta or the system shatters you.

4 thoughts on “A Lebanese Wasta

  1. i think you messed up a tiny bit, physical (fitness) exam is first, psychological is last.

    Funny story, after my first year of uni, the army (or whatever) had requested applicants so i was like “what the heck” and applied.
    I was among the highest ranking in physical exam (and that’s a whole story right there.. i’d be doing pushups, and the “officer in charge of counting” would be going .. 1 2 4 5 6 8 9 12 13 15 18 etc.. i shit u not).. i then went to medical. aced that, then to written, which i passed as well. it was time for the “interview” aka psychological. ain’t nothing psychological about that. that’s the bullshit right there, because u go in front of 3-4 “judges” who ask you bullshit questions related to nothing (and btw they were ignorant.. i said i was studying architecture so they asked about my opinion in the “infrastructure and sewage system” in lebanon.. what? ) and according to your “answers” they , subjectively of course, determine whether you pass or fail.
    i failed.
    what’s even funnier is that dad has high placed connections in the army and he kept convincing me that he should call them and i kept saying no – because i didn’t want it that bad anyways.. so i failed. i know damn well if dad made those 2-3 calls, my opinions in the “infrastructure” would be far more convincing.
    Ah well. eat or be eaten. you can’t fight the system.


  2. It’s a damn shame.. The system is corrupt because we allow it to be corrupt. I congratulate Maria on not using her “wasta” to be able to pass. You, my dear Maira, have high ethics and should be proud. Fadi, the wasta leech, is just another asshole that will suck the system dry as long as his Wasta’s allow it. Our job is to be like Maria.. Get positions and pass exams based on our qualifications (which is less than I can say for all the incompetent sect-chosen ministers according to Taef agreement).


    • Thank you, but note that i DIDN’T get it. so if i actually really wanted it and my life and future depended on that job, i’d either have to sit on my ass for ever, or go ahead and use a Wasta, or find another field of course, because maybe wasta isnt THAT important in jobs where u actually graduate and have a diploma and are qualified to work in the field, but it IS important in everything army related or any government job that doesnt require a degree.



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