Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘bakhshish


A week-long of formal toil to register Dad as officially dead and buried. (Short story)

Official documents that are necessary to prove dad indeed is no longer among us.

First step: Go to one of the mokhtars (elected person) in your town. He will fill the appropriate form  (Wathikat Wafat) for the dead person and affix his stamps and let a witness sign the form. I selected the mokhtar at walking distance to my house and he was very cooperative.

I had decided that I will go through the entire process on my own, and boarded buses instead of asking relatives to give me rides.

Second step: Go to the civil registrar in your district (da2irat noufouss), literarily the circle of souls, to receive the appropriate number for the dead person and be officially registered as dead.

The head of this division in Bikfaya is a female, Nadin S. She is called the boss. The boss told me that the mokhtar missed one stamp in the item where the physician should sign. Since dad passed away in his home, the stamp of the mokhtar should suffice.

Back to the mokhtar for this additional stamp. And back to the Noufouss the next morning since this public institution stop receiving demands at noon. The boss asked me to come the next morning where all the document will be ready, including the new family register (Ekhraj Kayd).

The boss called the mokhtar and lambasted him because he wanted to wait after the Noufous register the death before issuing the form for the family Kaid. The mokhtar should have filled the appropriate form and add this sentence “After the wathikat wafat was registered

Kind of “Why the mokhtar has to unduly harass citizens and not pre-empt and fill all the necessary forms required in these situations?”

On the third morning, the boss said: “I have a bad news for you. The mokhtar filled the wrong place of birth of your dad”. She said that the mokhtar used dad’s ID instead of Ekhraj kaid of the family.

Actually, both the ID and Kaid mentioned Segou (Rep of Mali) as the place of birth, but the boss said it should be Beit Chabab, mentioned somewhere in their register.

Now, has the Noufouss two sets of registrar?

How could a mokhtar know the place of birth if not from the documents issued by the State?

Since on Fridays public servants go home at 11 am because the Muslims might have to attend the Mosque, and since public servants hate to work on Saturday, I was to show up on Monday morning to deliver the appropriate forms, corrected and all.

Back to the mokhtar to fill another form for the wathikat wafat. Just to replace Segou with Beit Chabab, as if the dead person cares much where he was born by now.

The mokhtar was very patient, as I was, and even found another witness for the revisited form and picked it up the next morning, a Saturday.

Now I have to wait for Monday morning to witness how this process will unfold.

Note 1: I went Monday morning to the Noufouss and the boss asked me to come at 1 pm or tomorrow for the documents to be readied. I went back with my cousin Noel before 1 pm and paid about $15 for a copy of the wathikat and the family register.

Note 2: Everyone I talked to about the hassles were adamant that the noufouss wanted bakhshish (implicit institutional bribes) in order to speed up the process, kind of a way of making ends meet for these civil servants. We have a saying in Lebanon: “Give your flour to the baker, even if he eats half the bread“. What if we have no bread to eat?

The problems is that most citizens encourage the public servants to expect bribes. And the institutions prefer that a third party  (the expert bribers in particular line of public documents requirement) do the work so that they don’t lose face and explicitly demand their bribes.

This time around, I played the honest citizen simply because I had no money to spread around and save ten times what the procurement of the documents would cost. Mind you that I’m out of job and Have time on my hand for saving all the money I could.

Note 3: Since dad passed away, many of the visitors would heap tons of suggestions and recommendations on me. One of these recommendations was to immediately tend to the wathikat wafat, otherwise, I’ll end up paying penalty after 40 days of the death of the person.

Even the private health insurance wants to be sure of obtaining this official document. Why? If the insurance agency is not about to refund for the remaining term?

Note 4: Eulogy of father




September 2021

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