“There is no need to worry,” said Culture Minister Gaby Layoun, following the theft of 46 items from the crusader castle museum in the ancient city of Byblos. Excavated on site, the items include ancient Egyptian jewelry and Roman-era pottery.

“None of them has any unique value,” Layoun told The Daily Star, claiming “most” of the pieces were “identical” to those stored in ministry depots.

And who needs more than one type of ancient relic anyway?

But if “most” of the items were identical does that many others were not, and thus no longer exist? No problem-or ‘basseta’ as we say in Lebanon. Too much heritage is bad for business.

Layoun knows. Last year he approved the demolition of 2nd century BCE ruins as well as the home of one of Lebanon’s most famous writers both to make way for luxury apartments.

So what qualifies Layoun to be culture minister? I haven’t found much on his background only that he holds a “diploma” in engineering. I must be missing something.

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