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I saw this story a week or so ago, about the al-Quaida extremists ransacking and burning a library on their way out of Timbuktu just to spite the residents, a library that was supposed to have houses thousands of 700 year old manuscripts. Needless to say, it was pretty upsetting to see this happen and I'll never understand how people can be so hateful towards anyone's history. At any rate... good news!

It seems like the extremists were actually in a newer library that they were moving the documents into and they had only managed to transfer about 2000 before they took over the building. A caretaker named Abba Alhadi, 72 years old and illiterate, managed to save 28,000 of the 30,000 books by smuggling them out of the older library in millet sacks to Bamako, Mali's capital city. In all they estimate less than 5% of the manuscripts were lost, and of those lost most of them were already recorded digitally.

Here's the story, it's definitely worth a read. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/people-timbuktu-save-manuscripts-invaders
 

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Thanks for posting this news. So sad, but at least the caretaker saved most of the books. Touching old books, and other old artifacts and objects, makes me aware of a direct link to the past.

This news reminds of the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, the ancient statues the Taliban blew up in Afghanistan in spite of an international protest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamiyan
 
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