Not a day passes by without news outlets airing pictures and videos of the large-scale destruction inflicted on ancient sites in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Yemen. These tragic events swirl throughout the worldwide media and shine a spotlight on a region of the world that has been subjected to endless rounds of violence and ravaging since its inception. In the wake of this cultural tragedy, several non-governmental organizations, learned societies, and civil coalitions, whether mandated by their governments or not, are working tirelessly to document the horrifying extent of destruction in vast areas of a region known as the “cradle of the civilization” and to find ways to protect what remains of its dwindling heritage.

While this new heart-wrenching reality has emerged only during the last few years in the above-mentioned countries, Lebanon has already lived through its share of ruination and organized looting of its cultural heritage. During...

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