Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Timbuktu - A loss for humanity

Many of us may not hear about this West African site. Unfortunately, Timbuktu came to global attention when it fights its last battle for survival. Now under the control of fundamentalists, the city may soon attain the fate of Bamiyan Buddha, if international community is not ready to do anything more than lip service.

Timuktu, also known as the 'City of 333 saints', was a centre of Islamic learning from 13th to 17th centuries. This city also has a huge collection of old manuscripts, books, letters etc in her private and public libraries. Timuktu's three mosques and 16 cemeteries are also in UNESCO's world heritage list.

But, all this qualifications didn’t stop 'Ansar Dine' from its programme of destroying this cultural heritage. Timuktu's (which follows Sufi tradition of Islam) fault was, it doesn’t follow Ansar Dine's interpretation of salafist ideology. According to the reports the group already destroyed may of 16 listed mausoleums and pledged to destroy rest of them. They also bring down the sacred door of 15th century ‘Sidi Yahia Mosque’.

It is easy to destroy these things, centuries old buildings may not offer much resistance to fundamentalists’ new weapons. But, with this we are losing some of the most valued cultural signature of the old world. Do we really have the right to bring down these icons which were left to us by our ancestors?

Government and international community may or may not be able to control ‘Ansar Dine’ tomorrow, but if we are not able to do something today then we are losing some of the most valued possessions. It will be better for ‘Ansar Dine’ to remember that they are destroying the very identity of their own ancestors.


Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. Islamist militants destroyed two tombs on Tuesday at the famous 14th-century Djingareyber Mosque in Timbuktu, residents said. About a dozen militants arrived in an armored truck, armed with pickaxes and hoes, and started smashing the tombs, a witness said. - NewYork Times