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.

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