Timbuktu Endangered by Malian Coup


With lives endangered, democracy trampled and historical archives at risk, it’s time to act.

A drama of major proportions is unfolding in Mali, where a coup d’état, combined with violent regional rebellion, has resulted in both the collapse of the state and the loss of significant territory. At stake are many lives, as well as historical documents and artifacts of incalculable importance to African history.
Last week brought reports that rebels had “pillaged and looted” archives in Timbuktu documenting the city’s golden era of scholarship between the 12th and 15th centuries. It’s vital that the United States and the United Nations take an active interest in what is happening in Mali, take a stand and advocate for peaceful negotiations to remedy the current state of affairs and save these priceless treasures. 
On March 22, 2012, junior officers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo took control of the military and removed President Amadou Toumani Toure from power. Disgruntled by the failure of the Malian army to reverse losses in the war against rebel forces in northern Mali, and disenchanted with widespread concerns of unacceptable levels of corruption in government, a number of Malians were initially supportive of the coup, while others were opposed to having the democratic process disrupted.
With the populace divided, disaster suddenly descended in the north, where rebel troops, taking full advantage of a government in disarray, launched an all-out assault on principal regional towns. In a matter of a few days, from March 30 to April 1, combined insurrectionary forces had established full control over not only Kidal but the fabled cities of Gao and Timbuktu as well. 
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SOURCE: The Root
Michael A. Gomez, Ph.D.