Save Timbuktu!

30 June 2012: UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her distress and dismay over the destruction of three sacred tombs that are part of a World Heritage site in Timbuktu, Mali. Ms Bokova called on the belligerents to cease the destruction immediately.

“Reports that the Mausoleums of Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi Moctar and Alpha Moya have been destroyed is extremely distressing,” the Director-General said. “There is no justification for such wanton destruction and I call on all parties engaged in the conflict to stop these terrible and irreversible acts, to exercise their responsibility and protect this invaluable cultural heritage for future generations.

The Director-General, has repeatedly urged international cooperation to protect the sites which bear witness to the golden age of Timbuktu in the 16th century and to a history that stretches even further back to the 5th century of the Hegira.

Earlier today, the Chairperson of the Committee, Eleonora Mitrofanova (Russian Federation) described the destruction of the three tombs as “tragic news for us all and, even more so for the inhabitants of Timbuktu who have cherished and preserved this monument over more than seven centuries.”

On Thursday, 28 June, the World Heritage Committee, meeting in St. Petersburg, accepted the request of the government of Mali to place Timbuktu and the Tomb of Askia on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.

See also on Afro-Europe: Timbuktu - The place where the Western "Songs and Dance Theory" of Black people ends

I am very pessimistic that UNESCO or any other organisation will be able to convince the rebels that this ancient city should be cherished as if it were the last flower on earth.


  1. Thanks for posting this. If we had it together at all, we'd take up arms and go in there ourselves in order to protect the legacy of Timbuctu. I wonder what the real story is concerning the treasures of Tombuctu and those who feel like they need to destroy it?. I was very charged up about the fact that the people were beginning to feel confident enough to bring their cherished munscripts out of hiding. Now it looks like they were brought out of hiding too soon.

    See my previous posts on Black Media Mine.

    Timbuctu Manuscripts

    Ahmed Baba

  2. African Muslims have been having these kinds of problems since they first converted to Islam. Islam, especially Sunni Islam, is very clear about not raising the veneration of the dead into a practice that looks like worship. However, this practice is quite common in Shiite Muslim communities. Since the veneration of Ancestors is a particularly traditional African religious practice, It may be time for these Africans to return to their roots completely, and let their pseudo Islam go.

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