Tag Archives | Mali

Book Review: English, C. (2017). The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu – The Quest for this Storied City and the Race to Save its Treasures

English, C. (2017). The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu – The Quest for this Storied City and the Race to Save its Treasures. London: William Collins In August 2011 Tuareg fighters returned to Mali from the Libyan conflict, bringing with them weapons and military experience and the prospect of renewed violence in the country. By 2012, with the help of foreign and local militants, Tuareg separatists successfully seized most of Azawad, including the ancient city of Timbuktu. While the Malian government sought to regain control of the region, scholars in Timbuktu turned their thoughts to the thousands of historical archives held in the city and the risk that this insurrection posed to the security of these documents. Charlie English, a British journalist for The Guardian and member of the Royal Geographical Society with a long-standing fascination with Africa recounts the tale of how these archives were smuggled out of Timbuktu under the noses of the separatists and Islamists that had seized control of the region. Not only does English tell the story of how these archives were moved following the destruction of many of the city’s sacred monuments, but also interweaves his narrative with the stories of nineteenth-century European colonial explorers. […]

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Updates on Mali and Sahel

UN human rights chief says the underlying problem in Mali is poverty:  Au Sahel, la fin du djihadisme passera aussi par la lutte contre la pauvreté et les inégalités (Bachelet Meanwhile with the US threatening withdrawal, an article in the New York Times underlines the dilemma facing the French Operation Barkhane in the western Sahel: fighting an unwinnable war but unable to leave. As ICG analyst Hannah Armstrong puts it: “In the same way that French reality TV and pop music is 15 years behind the U.S., French counterterrorism mimics U.S. counterterrorism of 15 years ago. In the Sahel, the Americans have already realized this is a losing battle.”

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