Monday, April 27, 2009

Palestinian Editor: Corruption, Nepotism and Favoritism are good for Palestine

I am not inventing this, honstly. Nasser Lahham, editor-in-chief of the Palestinian Maannews news service takes issue with a report that lashed out at corruption, nepotism and favoritism,. the fifth annual Aman: Palestinian Coalition for Accountability and Integrity report. He notes:
What the report calls nepotism and favoritism are, in Palestinian society, forms of respect for the family and the community; ignoring their needs might lead to enmity between someone appointed to a hiring position and another in his or her community.

Inside our factions and out, however, what the report calls "favoritism and nepotism" I would prefer to call "social diplomacy." I draw your attention to the case of the job applicant: He is in hard circumstances and is in bad need of work. His fellow party member, cousin or clansman shows respect for his position and gives him a three month probationary period during which he must prove he can do the job.

Including a young man in a new company is like having him marry into your family; it is a way to look out for and ensure the protection of younger generations and those in need. Being able to offer work, a respectable position, is community diplomacy and an essential tool.
Lahham is not describing a government, but rather a somehat different sort of organization. Indeed, a Palestinian politician is a "man of respect," or "uomo di rispetto" as we used to say in the old country (Brooklyn).  And taking on a new worker makes him a member of la famiglia. Capisce, paisan?  And he explains that the same mechanism of "Social Diplomacy" operates among the Hamas
What I think that Aman must recognize is that there should be a differentiation between social diplomacy and negative nepotism. One helps people and stitches together a society and the other is a harmful violation of law and religion.

I asked one of my friends in Hamas who have the slogan of "reform and change," who won power after a long rule by a corrupted Fatah, why they are pursuing power and authority in Palestine. He answered, "We do not struggle for power but it is the job these days; is the only benefit we can use to satisfy our supporters so we are not ready to give it up."
Corrupt politicians all over the world will be grateful to Lahham for whitewashing that ugly word "patronage" into the very much more respectable, "Social Diplomacy."  
And we also know who is at fault for Palestinian corruption (you guessed it!):

One can also argue, then, that unemployment, poverty, and siege are preventing the workers from working, and the situation is the real culprit behind the mass applications for one job and nepotism is the only way to cut through the clutter.

: What is behind all this, is the need to get rid of Salam Fayyed, who was getting in the way of "the families" with his reformist delusions.

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