How CNN Used The Lebanese Word ‘Wasta’

TDS/Mohammad Azakir | Wolterk

CNN has used and explained a particular Lebanese word in a recent news report and it’s… something else.

CNN’s senior international correspondent based in Beirut, Ben Wedeman, used the word wasta during his coverage of the start of Lebanon’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, which is financed by the World Bank.

Wedeman reported that the World Bank Vice President for the Middle East & North Africa, Ferid Belhaj, has warned against using wasta (nepotism/favoritism).

He proceeded to explain wasta as “using connections to jump the queue,” adding that caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab was scheduled to receive the first vaccination but stepped out of the line, making way for front-line workers.

The word is so commonly used in Lebanon but hearing it said and highlighted by an international news channel sparks hope that, somehow, there will be less use of the wasta going forth.

This can prompt the international community to pay more attention to it, as it is one of many corruption tools used in this country.

As Halim Shebaya puts it, the call for “no wasta” is a testament to the success of the Lebanese Revolution as now international donors and lenders get to firmly say to the officials “no wasta” and ensure that, indeed, “no wasta” defiles their donations and/or loans to the country.

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