Education and ‘Wasta’: A Personal Experience


I’m 26 years old, graduated few years ago from a private university and have now decided to do my Masters. For a woman who is independent and prefers to pay her own fees at a university, I refuse to take anything, unless I really earn it. My first option for a masters degree was the Lebanese University, known that the Lebanese University is almost free of charge, you only pay your registration and can get a decent degree. Foolish and ignorant enough about how things go in Lebanon, i went to ask about the Master program at Lebanese university of Arts, “Furn El Chebak”

I have a degree in Arts and Graphic Design. And here was my first encounter of the system.

Let me tell you one thing, to be able to work at the Lebanese university, obviously, you’ll have to have knowledge of 3 words:

“I don’t know.”

“Can you please go to the other person’s office?”

and finally, “I don’t know, can you please come back later or call this number.”

It was just another episode of cluelessness, as if my simple question was from another planet, and maybe it need private forces to get an answer.

I could’ve solved all existential questions faster than getting an answer from the Lebanese University.

Oh the Pride.

So I was tossed from office to office, I went to 5 offices in 15 minutes running around politely asking over and over about the procedure in which I can get my masters, they didn’t even know if there was an opening for a masters program soon, or any handouts about what papers I should get, and finally I thought I achieved something by getting a phone number I can call.

In spite the fact that I felt like a ball, kicked from a place to another,I  decided to call to see, maybe they can provide me with answers, and all over again, the same thing happened, 10 minutes on the phone, one person linking me to another, one person linking me to another until I’ve had enough of it, and guess what, there was no answer. Again.

My friends always told me that if you want to get into the lebanese university you need a “WASTA”. And usually “wastas” are provided by a certain politician, or certain religious sect, or a huge bank account you can bribe people with.

But I didn’t believe it, maybe because I didn’t want to give up on this country, and I still believed that you can get anywhere with your own voice, and skills. Obviously not. I couldn’t help thinking, as an independent woman in this country, where do I stand, where do I go to? AUB? LAU? It will cost me a whole life time of work to pay the fees.

Even if you have a full time job, do you have the illusion that you can pay your fees simply by working, no matter where you work or how much you are always underpaid!

This country keeps putting you down, reminding you that you cannot go anywhere unless you come from a place where you either have a huge bank account behind your back or a huge “wasta” from some someone or somewhere.

Society is constructed in a way where you should live with your parents for the rest of your life, or until you get married, because the rents are too high, and when you need anything, you should ask your mummy and daddy always to pay for your education fees, and if you want to do it, yourself, then forget about it.

As a woman, if you live alone, you are a whore who will never get a husband. If you stand up for your rights, they ask where did you lose your femininity. If you get raped, you should be silent about it because it’s “3ayeb.” If you wear sport shoes and get out of your house without tons of makes ups on your face, you will never be taken seriously. And if you laugh out loud, then you have low morals, and you weren’t raised properly. If you didn’t get married by the age of 30, you are an ugly spinster.

And to immigrate? Well, excuse me, why? I already have a country i live in, why should I move to another? And people keep wondering why all these youth keep traveling abroad, maybe because nobody gives a fuck about them.

But wait, don’t be under the illusions that they will get rid of me soon, They won’t. My dear Lebanon, A possibility of country that never happened.


Sawt al' Niswa



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