where would we be without our friend, you know the one, good old 'wasta'وَسطة
how would society function without it? how can people possibly live without the use of wasta?
how cool would it be if you can have instant wasta, just like the adverts 'add water and watch the effect of wasta grow on you', a man would appear with a mobile phone supplied with all the telephone numbers and he would access anyone for you, believe me this will soon be advertised in an Arab country near you.
what is the definition of wasta?, to put it quite simply wasta is an Arabic term that can best be translated into English as "clout, connections, influence, or 'pull'." The use of wasta is a form of corruption that involves using of one's connections and influence in places of power to get things done outside of the normal procedures
Wasta is basically who you know?, what your background (family)is, how connected you are. Wasta is about having someone in a power position do something (legal or illegal) for you (a favor) that couldn't be done without a wasta.
What is different from other kind of corruption is that people don’t usually hide their acts when they use Wasta, they even brag about it, and offer providing the same wasta to people around us to help them out (to get a better social standing). With enough wasta, anything can be done: any lawful punishment can be escaped, any employment can be attained, any problem can be brushed aside.
Wasta in it’s most simple forms is considered a help-out, giving a hand, but basically it is about who has it, and who don’t.
the reason i mention wasta is because when we where in mecca we where left in quite a predicament as to our accommodation in madina, the swiss lot had already been in Madina for a week and they where supposed to have booked their rooms for us, so that when they leave we take their place, but they forgot or it slipped their mind to book the rooms for us so we where left room less, we found this out whilst we where in Mecca, so our leader was panicking bless him, until some dude we got to know mentioned that he new someone who new some one who could help i.e wasta.
so it was sorted out for us, or so we thought. we get to Madina and our driver is driving past the haram almadani, and we are squashed against the windows praying that our hotel will be the one closest to the haram, instead he continues to drive further and further away until he reaches a desolate place somewhere with no sign of anything familiar. we look to our right and there's a sign on a building 'palace' something or other, we get of the coach and enter a squashed corridor, we are given rooms, 4 to a room, and then we are left to go to our rooms.
i swear as soon as i walked into our room i thought to myself people are so going to complain, basically our so called 'wasta' had dumped is in a cess pit as we would fondly call this fake palace.
4 beds to a room which was fine except that the beds where taking up every single available space so people where tripping over everything, that's fine no problem except that the sheets and bedding had stains, some fresh, one room had blood on the sheets!!! human hair was all over the pillows and blankets.
i swear i am not exaggerating this at all, in some of the rooms on the wall there where things growing, fungus, creatures yuk.
some of the toilets did not have a flush, the list could go on and on, i walked out of the room to find that most people had left their rooms and where just standing around with complete shock on their face. every one was looking for our leader who was on the phone not looking very happy himself.
most people decided that they would rather sit outside on the curb than be in the cess pit, my brother sits on the pavement comfortably and starts playing chess with a fellow hajji.
every one else was sat next to each other on the edge of the curb waiting to see what would happen, eventually some of the men went and got chicken for everyone which every one ate outside. one of the men began to shout, he had lost his cool and was saying ' wallahi I'm not sleeping one night in this hell hole, if we sleep here for even one night then we will never leave', every one was trying to calm him down which they did do eventually.
every one really didn't want to stay a single night at this place, and i didn't really blame them, i wanted to go back to mina, that was 10 times better than this place.
eventually our leader got back to us and told us that he manage dto get hold of a 5 star hotel right opposite the haram but for tomorrow and not tonight, that was good news but still no one wanted to step foot in that place especially when one of the Bengali workers told my friend that they wash the sheets and bedding once a year!!!
so in the end we stayed at another hotel that night and then the next day we moved to 'dar al-taqwah' hotel, mashallah what a difference, it was 2 to a room and it was like having a mini apartment, pretty cool
the coolest thing was when you step out of the hotel you are literally at the haram, well worth the wait in my opinion.
wasta is not always what you expect to get like in our case, it can sometimes make life easier but its effects on Arab society are often extremely disastrous.
so many incompetent people are appointed to critical positions where such incompetence can cause serious problems, giving a position to some one who is not qualified just because he's your contact is not fair and we gotta stop this mujamalah buisness.
Also, with so many jobs being given to those with connections, there are often very few left for the genuinely qualified applicants. Since there is little guarantee that hard work and dedicated studying will pay off with a good job, wasta can and often does have a devastating effect on people's motivation especially if you dont have the means for a 'good wasta'.