Tutoring pays well, real well. So, as one of my part time jobs, I tutor 7 students in languages. Two days ago one of my student’s moms “fired” me. Her son, Jad, had to write an essay for his French class, so his mom asked me to sit down and write it for him. When I said that this would not be possible, but that I would be delighted to help Jad write an essay and correct it for him, the mom went mad: “I pay you so you do as I say. You are not here to raise my son but to make sure he passes French.” She was very persistent, and I was very clear: “I am sorry, but this is called cheating and plagiarism. I have my values and I cannot do that.” To me there was no question, no dilemma. It’s not about her son passing nor is it about me getting paid, it’s about a principle of right and wrong. You know the end of this story.
Now flip that coin.
Yesterday, I had to pass a final exam for one of my most challenging classes. The material was heavy. For some reason, the teacher was completely oblivious to the massive cheating that was going on in class. Most students were on their smart phones, others simply dictated answers to each other… It was so massive that I was unable to focus. I looked around: at least half this political science class was graduating this year. Questions lingered in my mind: LAU prides itself for producing tomorrow’s leaders. We have a gazillion ‘leadership programs’ at this university, and yet what is LAU producing? If we preach change and we hope that we will be its agents, when do we decide to live up to our principles and values? Where does citizenship start? If we are unable to keep from cheating in a simple undergraduate class, what will be the case when monetary compensation is on the line? What would happen when there are some important social relationships that we would otherwise loose if we live up to our standards?
I am talking about Lebanon, I am talking about citizenship, I am talking about values central for change. No, Lebanon will not be changed. It will not be changed by our generation of corrupt ‘leaders’. It will be worse as it reinforces itself by sucking into it the most talented and smart people we have in this country. And why should we expect change since the voices of our role models (parents or others) have called us down the wide and easy path of fraud?
This is a call for self-examination and reflection. This is a challenge to take the narrow and straight path.
To standing for our principles in good times and bad times,
Published in Mish Jareedi August 2013 Printed Edition – click here to view original publication