Monday, 28 January 2013

End of a great library?

There are disturbing news reports that "Islamist" rebels retreating from the combined French and Malian forces have set fire to the central institute in Timbuktu which houses a unique collection of ancient manuscripts. A few may remain in private hands - if I recall Aminatta Forna's 2010 documentary correctly, many citizens of Timbuktu have their own small collections which one hopes they have concealed - but if the reports are true, there has been cultural destruction greater than the bombing of Coventry and Dresden in the last world war.

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