Burning Mali history
Fleeing Islamist extremists torched a library containing historic manuscripts in Timbuktu, the mayor said Monday, as French and Malian forces closed in on Mali’s fabled desert city.
Ousmane Halle said he heard about the burnings early Monday.
“It’s truly alarming that this has happened,” he told The Associated Press by telephone from Mali’s capital, Bamako, on Monday. “They torched all the important ancient manuscripts. The ancient books of geography and science. It is the history of Timbuktu, of its people.”
The mayor said Monday that the radical Islamists had torched his office as well as the Ahmed Baba Institute — a library rich with historical documents — in an act of retaliation before they fled late last week.
...Al Qaeda has become the ultimate culture warriors destroying everything in their path. I am reminded of the famous quote from Hitler after the retreat from France began, "Is Paris burning?" Fortunately his officers disobeyed that order. Mali has not been so lucky, but it makes the taste of freedom sweeter as France and its Mali allies liberate cities that had been under the evils of al Qaeda Shariah Law.