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Timbuktu's Famous Library Set Ablaze!


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Fate of Timbuktu manuscripts uncertain as library burns




The fate of tens of thousands ancient manuscripts in Mali remained uncertain Monday as French troops liberated the city of Timbuktu from Islamic insurgents who were said to have set fire to the library there.

Timbuktu is the last major city occupied by the insurgents, who have held sway there for 10 months, imposing the strict Islamic version of religious law, including carrying out public executions and amputations for crimes.

The city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was an especially vibrant center of Islamic thought in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. As the Guardian explains in a retrospective article today, the manuscripts collected in the city “cover areas such as medicine and astronomy, as well as poetry, literature and Islamic law. Many were kept for centuries in private family libraries, passed down through the generations.”

In recent years, some 20,000 of these manuscripts were collected in the new Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Islamic Studies and Research. When the insurgent army occupied Timbuktu last year, they used the 50,000 square-foot complex as a sleeping quarters.

On Monday, Timbuktu mayor Hallé Ousmani Cissé told the Guardian that on Saturday the militants torched two buildings containing the manuscripts. “"This is terrible news,” he said. “The manuscripts were a part not only of Mali's heritage but the world's heritage. By destroying them they threaten the world.”

The mayor spoke to the Guardian by phone and was not in Timbuktu but in the Malian capital of Bamako. And it is not yet known how much damage was done to the library, which had also been in the process of digitizing many of the documents. Many of the documents were stored in underground vaults.

Most are in Arabic, but there are many in other languages, including Songhai, Tamashek, Bambara, Turkish and Hebrew. The oldest dates from the year 1204. A Wikipedia entry on the Timbuktu manuscripts contains several beautiful images of the documents.


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It's because of incidents like THIS that I suggested AfroAmericans establish a Literary/Academic Center.

Currently, most nations in Africa and Asia are too unstable to keep priceless material like that safe. Who knows how much history has been lost from fighting, neglect, and selling off artifacts for a quick buck.

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Actually, the old saw about history repeating applies here. This current situation is the second time that Arab Muslims have destroyed the famous libraries of Tombuctoo. The first destruction was in 1519 when Arab Muslims from Morocco invaded.


A link is below.



As a repentant survivor of the insanity of Pan-Africanism dogma, over the years it has amazed me that so many people of color from the Africa Diaspora hold Arab Muslim culture in high regards when in fact Arab Muslims probably destroyed as many black African cultures as the European Christians who arrived to the continent much later.  



Even in the modern era, today, right now, yes, white Arab Moors are enslaving black Africans.



Yet to this day, many Pan-Africanism followers are in denial of this history of Muslims destroying black African cultures. .




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A couple of missing thoughts:



The invasion in 1519 destroyed documents from it is believed early 1000 CE or earlier.  So Arab Muslims have destroyed documents covering over a thousand years of black African culture.


To supplement my original sentence: Today in Mauritania and other countires in that region white Arab Moors enslave black Africans.

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Thanx for pointing out the racism of the Arabs.

I'm not sure about the Arabs of the past but many Arabs today are more violently racist than a lot of Europeans!

And many of them bring there racist ways of thinking to America where they target Black neighborhoods selling rotten food, engage in gas-gouging, and have even shot and killed Black customers in thier establishments.

BTW, I thought the famous library of Timbuktu was actually built by Muslims (Black African) during the old Mali Empire?

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Nothing was as tragic and pitiful as the selling of Africans by Africans due to insatiable greed and God knows what else.

A greed that continues among many African leaders today, while too many of their people are starving.


Is there any difference between black greed or white and arab greed...but this is what Afro-centrics and those with a Pan African mindset cleverly ignores.

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No there is absolutely no difference.  Except when your kin, or family does it to you; it seems to hurt a bit more.


This is why I always found Black on Black crime to so very disturbing.  The reaction to it is so much more subdued than if a White person does it.  Travon Martin national news.  The countless other nameless, faceless Black youth go unnoticed, and under punished when the murderer is also Black.

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@ Pioneer1.  Appreciate the comments.


Truly, any interaction that Arabic Muslims had with black Africa cultures resulted in sheer annihilation and destruction of African cultures.  


Link: http://www.historytoday.com/eamonn-gearon/arab-invasions-first-islamic-empire


The libraries were established by Arab Muslims after they invaded and forced Islam with the point of the sword on ancient black African civilizations.


Link: http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/timelines/htimeline.htm


Despite what is said in recent news reports, some of the documents in the libraries are written in languages of black African cultures (sorry, don’t have a link).  So it may not be completely accurate to call them Islamic libraries.


Ancient civilizations of North Africa, the Sahel, and sub-Sahara were not Islamic. They practiced many types of Animism and other long-disappeared religions.  Islam is not an African religion. Its origins are in Arabia, so an Arab religion. 



There were many, many black African cultures that predated Islam but were destroyed by Arab Muslim invaders, like this culture that is still trying to hold on in Mail today:  http://sacredsites.com/africa/mali/dogon.html


As  an example, present day Egypt is mostly Islamic, but the ancient Egypt of the pharaohs (over 5,000 years ago) was not Islamic because Islam had not been created.  Such is the history of the Sahel and sub-Sahara regions.


Link: http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/students/curriculum/m7a/activity2.php


If you ever have time to delve into histories of ancient Africa cultures, take care to find resources that accurately assess the Islamic influence that is
seen in present day black African countries and cultures.


There are boatloads of Islamic deniers and apologists (even in history departments at elite universities around the world!!) who would have
you believe that Islam was a positive influence on black African civilizations.  It was not – and still is not.  Watch out for the Islamic propaganda.




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Brilliant, wonderful reference to Dr. Clarke.  Wow, and the video! I am going to enjoy it. Thanks for the share.  Clarke and others many years ago gave heat and light to the destruction of black African cultures by Arab Muslims. It’s out there for those not afraid to seek it.


Over the years, it has always been disturbing to me that many black Americans seeking a connection to their African heritage drifted to Islam.


My theory is that although there is general exposure and knowledge of the Nation of Islam (NOI) many do not appreciate that NOI is not traditional Arabic Islam and is not recognized by Islamic scholars.  In fact most Islamic scholar have been/are extremely hostile to NOI.


NOI was founded as a black American self-determination group and counterpunch to the evils Christianity foisted on blacks in America.


But then again, with NOI you get (history repeating) black folks worshipping a white messiah.  NOI was founded by a white man (well, let’s say at least not black – just like Obama!) who is still revered  in NOI.  


Perhaps, if after the end of slavery in America day schools to teach African history had been established in black communities (on the Jewish day school model), the comprehensive history of black Africa and the African Diaspora would be more widely known.  

Let's not hold our breaths for this to ever happen.


Unfortunately, the black Christian church was/is too busy teaching the history of Hebrew civilizations instead of African civilizations.




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Respectfully, I think I get this gist or intent of your comment.

However, it seems this thread is not about greed.  There is not a post that mentions the slave trade or any other commerce implications.

From my interpretation, this thread is about hegemony, cultural hegemony specifically.


To be sure, the imposition of hegemony leads to confiscation and acquisition of properties of other cultures, which could be considered greed.  

But the main thrust of the Muslim conquest of North Africa, the Sahel, and sub-Sahara (there is a link in my first post) was to "spread Islam by the sword."  The acquisition or stealing of resources was, if you will, collateral damage.

A major tenet of Islam is that other cultures and religions are inferior and the infidels and their cultures must be destroyed.  Islam was/is about destroying not coveting other cultures.


The destruction of the libraries and sites at Tombuctoo and the blowing up of the Buddhas of Bamiyan are recent examples of this principle in action.


Nonetheless, if you were to start a thread about greed (particularly the African slave trade), it would apply to the same apologists and deniers being addressed in this thread.

In particular, it would apply to the folks over at http://www.arabslavetrade.com/ who produced that lying, slanted documentary Motherland and who make silly arguments that Islamic slavery of black Africans was better for the slaves than American (read Christianity) slavery. 

I guess that would be akin to a women being half pregnant.


Much respect.  


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