Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Timbuk Two – the ignorance continues...

Timbuktu's Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning
As we had reported in our July, 7th, 2012 post, “Timbuktu... sacred site, threatened by secular ignorance” the ancient oasis of 32 Sufi Saints… had been overrun by Tuareg fighters who had invaded northern Mali with an arsenal of Libyan weaponry & declared their own republic in the region that included the World Heritage site of Timbuktu. Ansar Dine, a radical Islamist sect with alliances al-Qaeda, had established itself in the rebel-held territory. They had consequently imposed Shariah law and wreaked sectarian havoc for the last nine months.
 
Last week, the Malian military, backed by French Foreign Legion troops, re-took Timbuktu, reportedly without firing a shot. As they retreated… and seemingly out of spite… the rebels set fire to the Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research, aiming to destroy a treasure-trove of 30,000 sacred Sufi manuscripts that date back to the 13th century. Apparently, the extremists who ransacked the institute wanted to deal a final blow to Mali and the world, especially France, who hosts the headquarters of UNESCO, the organization which recognized and elevated Timbuktu's monuments to its list of World Heritage sites.
 
The burning of books has been a dark human tradition. The sacking and burning of libraries has been carried out by villainous usurpers, since the dawn of history. The following is but a small sample of book burnings throughout history…
 
* Zoroastrian scriptures (by Alexander the Great)…
 
* Books of Arianism (as well as a multitude of Gnostics texts, after the Council of Nicaea)…
 
* The Library of Antioch
 
* The Library of Alexandria (multiple times)…
 
* Cathar texts (ironically by the French)…
 
* Angelo Carletti's theological works (by Martin Luther)…
 
* Mayan Sacred Texts (by Spanish Bishop of Yucatan)…
 
* Leuven University Library, Belgium (by World War II German occupation troops)…
 
* Wilhelm Reich's publications (by U.S. Food and Drug Administration)…
 
* Operation Dark Heart, memoir by Anthony Shaffer (by The United States Pentagon)…
 
The list goes on & on & on…
 
So the fleeing Tuareg fighters, setting ablaze the library of Timbuktu, join the nefarious ranks of ignorant invaders who thoughtlessly and maliciously destroy the sacred works of antiquity.
 
There is a silver lining to this dark tale, however. What the Ansar Dine rebels did not realize, as they set the ancient Sufi manuscripts ablaze, was that the institute was in the process of moving its collection of manuscripts into a new, state-of-the-art building, nine months ago. Upon occupation, the militants commandeered the new center, turning it into a barracks for their fighters. They didn't realize only about 2,000 manuscripts had been moved there, the bulk of the collection… 28,000 manuscripts… remained untouched at the old library! They didn’t even bother searching the old building!
 
Even though a portion of these sacred texts were damaged, the vast majority of manuscripts escaped detection and destruction, safe and sound in the old library… take that forces of darkness!!!