Timbuktu's great save

Wednesday, 20 Apr 2016

I hope one day, when the dust has settled and Africa takes it's mantle. Someone erects a statue to this guy: Abdel Kader Haidara.

He encountered looters, gunfire and black flags flying from government buildings, and he feared that the city’s dozens of libraries and repositories—home to hundreds of thousands of rare Arabic manuscripts—would be pillaged.

He ends his interview with this gem of an anecdote:

Mr. Haidara was especially proud of rescuing one manuscript: a crumbling volume about conflict resolution between the kingdoms of Borno and Sokoto in what is now Nigeria, the work of a Sufi holy warrior and intellectual who had briefly ruled Timbuktu in the mid-19th century. This man, Mr. Haidara argued, was a jihadist in the original and best sense of the word: one who struggles against evil ideas, desires and anger in himself and subjugates them to reason and obedience to God’s commands. It was, he thought, a fitting rebuke to all that the militants stood for.