Investigations | 12 Dec 2014

Nepotism is increasingly becoming prevalent in Syrian opposition organizations, especially in finding employment, both within Syria or in the diaspora. This is due to the increasing demand for jobs, with the defection of many qualified government employees.

The problem was exacerbated by the hegemony of the military in the Syrian interior, with all job appointments becoming connected to military considerations. In the diaspora, however, political considerations are prevalent. There is very little likelihood of finding a job without being affiliated to a specific political movement.

Salim al-Shami, a yet-to-graduate law student and regime-army defector, says he went to military action in the beginning. Yet due to the conflicts between the battalions stationed in the area, he was forced to withdraw and plunge himself into civil and relief work.

He explains how he headed to the Turkish city of Reyhanli, as this is where the majority of civil organizations are operating. He does not have any profession from which he can earn a living, as the nature of his studies was "adminstrative."

Al-Shami alludes to the regionalism which controls appointments in the organizations offering jobs. You will find an organization affiliated to the Jabal al-Zawiya region staffed exclusively from the region; they are all "Uncle-this, cousin-that, relative-so-and-so... etc." as he puts it. Another organization affiliated with the Saraqeb region will be dominated by people belonging to the Saraqeb Local Council, and military battalion leaders.

The young man confirms that the top brass of these organizations employ and lay off whomever they choose. This situation, as he describes it, has given him a "complex." He would want to offer his work to help support the Revolution; yet the current atmosphere is not helping because it is packed with favoritism, as he puts it.

The Regime's Mentality Pervades!

Samer Ghannam, a young Syrian, says that the regime's mentality pervades administrative work in opposition institutions, in terms of style and manner. The mechanism and method of doing work is one and the same like that of the regime, he says, adding: "Opposition institutions are committed to the Revolution in slogans alone. Their reality is quite the opposite of these slogans."

Ghannam adds: "Any organization offering jobs, will rarely accept your application without nepotism being involved. I myself visited several organizations, and provided them with my diplomas and experiences; not one single organization accepted my candidacy."

He notes that this condition can be generalized to a great many number of young Syrians. The reason is that each organization will have a speficic supporter. This supporter in turn have given authorization to one individual to run the organization. He explains: "This person will, invariably, employ his relatives, cronies, friends, or acquaintances. Thus, this director will have become a single hegemon over the organization, employing womever he pleases, and giving job descriptions as he so desires."

Not Even The Medical Profession Has Been Spared!

Dr. Abdul Rahman works in one of the hospitals operating in an area under opposition control. He confirms that the even the medical profession and its affiliated establishments in Syria, has not been spared from nepotism creeping in their midst.

He says: "Many of the organizations active in Syria base many of their appointments on nepotism. This would either be related to kinship between management and employees, or in an attempt to appease those who possess military power."

Dr. Abd al-Rahman does not hold these organizations responsible; as they are humanitarian organizations with specific standards they follow in their work. He points the finger of blame to those individuals authorized by these organizations.

He explains: "They appoint unqualified people with no medical qualifications. Many hospitals' cadres are exclusively made up from members of one or two families, most of whom do not have any medical qualifications. It has gotten to the point where many nursing cadres in these hospitals do not even belong to the medical profession; some are even illiterate, and do not know how to read or write. "

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