Posted by: Ha Ana Za | September 3, 2007

A Question of Class

Having been brought up by a strictly Nasserist father and very socialist mother, I was always brought up to believe that there is no such thing as class.

“If you work hard enough, you can get anywhere” I was told. To some extent that is true, I doubt that my forefathers would ever have believed it possible that their offspring would one day be living in the UK and studying at Oxford but then circumstances change with time and I have always said that I owe my mere existence to Nasser’s revolution.

However, looking at a friend’s engagement photos I was distinctly reminded that there is still such a thing as class. While I inspected her dress, and the lavish party and many guests, it dawned on me that as a ‘westerner’ one is allowed to transcend some divisions in the Arab social system. Living here means that one mixes freely with anyone who happens to call themselves ‘Arab’ and the massive differences in currency mean that places that would ordinarily be inaccessible to anyone other than the privileged classes, hold their doors open.

Arabs in diaspora seem to almost attain a ‘classless-ness’ because of their distance from the society. Is this why people emigrate?


  1. I would love to agree with you. but, in the states, back home classes are held firm. may be after the first meeting (mojamaleh) I was an “illegal” resident for my first three years in the states. Arabs, for the most part, looked down on me and thought of me as laborer getting paid the minimum wage. things changed as later, which affirmed their strongly held believes of class. I guess they didn’t, and still don’t have any.

  2. Class is a horrible system. Whenever I look at Syrian wedding photos I can instantly name the families. It is a horrible way to label someone by wealth rather than by wit.

    Hopefully the newer generations move away from these things

  3. never noticed that when i was an ex-pat…if anything, it’s only the rich people who get to emigrate and live abroad. or rather, the comparatively rich.

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