There’s an apocryphal joke that illustrates the depth and scale of corruption in Lebanon, where incompetence and institutional rot contributed to the Beirut disaster last week that killed at least 150 people, injured thousands, made hundreds of thousands homeless, and levelled much of the capital in damage estimated at more than $15bn.
The story begins with a Lebanese politician who visits the stately home of a counterpart in France.
“Wow,” says the Lebanese politician. “How can you afford a villa like that on a public employee’s salary?”
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