In probably the best news of the year, the once world-famous center of learning — Timbuktu was a famous university town, full of students and scholars once — is back on map. Or will be soon. The remnants of its vast libraries are in the process of being saved and the doors of the Ahmed Baba Institute, a £16,428,265 project paid for by the South African government, is about to open.
Timbuktu was a jewel in the crown of Africa in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. The history and scholarship that its library holds are of immeasurable worth to scholars and to the peoples of Africa and the world. The only down side now is tourists and scholars are getting warned off. Both the US and UK feel there’s a credible threat of kidnapping by militants with links to al-Qaeda.
But we believe Timbuktu will surely rise again as a center of learning. Despite objections. It’s the nature of human beings to want to be learned, to want to read, and know, and engage in scholarship. People who love books have died for the right read to them since time began. Radical militants come and go, booklovers are forever.