Downtown Beirut: the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to archeology. After a blogger (link) and Daily Star journalists were assaulted for taking pictures at the District S site, it turned out a nearby site, where the Roman gate and road were discovered, was more important than originally perceived.
Our ministry of culture Gaby Layoun has no problem in allowing the demolitions at the site in question to continue. But new evidence is now surfacing according to this source that the site in question may contain Lebanon’s first and oldest Church. And yes, that possible Church is part of the things that are going to be destroyed as well.
What will replace the Roman gate and road as well as the potential Church? A five star hotel and mall. Because that’s precisely what Downtown Beirut is so desperately lacking. After all, why would any tourist in their right mind want to see anything in Beirut that doesn’t revolve around the Zaitunay Bays and the Solidere edition of Downtown Beirut?
Gaby Layoun is well on his way to be Lebanon’s prime minister of culture to allow the most transgressions against Lebanon’s culture. From the Roman hippodrome, the Phoenician port, Amin Maalouf’s house and the constant destruction of Achrafieh to the current site at hand. Of course, all of the aforementioned entities are not things that can be milked electorally for them to be anything substantial for Layoun and his friends. Roman hippodrome and Christian rights sure doesn’t sound catchy enough.
We, as Lebanese, have apparently no right to at least have the parts of our history that are discovered be fully studied and documented because it will ruin the plans of multi-billionaires who are paying our government in droves to turn a blind eye to every single transgression taking place.
It’s not only about stone, mosaics and ancient significance. It’s about this monumental carelessness and barbarism with which authorities handle every single situation in this country, including ruins and culture and houses and highways. And quite honestly, I’ve come to expect nothing less of people who probably find the pillars of Baalbek are enough for this tiny country.