The Treasures of Timbuktu
LONDON — On Jan. 28, 2013, news broke of an epic cultural catastrophe. That morning, the mayor of Timbuktu, Halle Ousmane Cissé, told journalists that the jihadist occupiers of the town had destroyed its famous literary heritage.
“They torched all the important ancient manuscripts,” Mr. Cissé told The Associated Press. “The ancient books of geography and science. It is the history of Timbuktu, of its people.”
Within hours, the internet was reverberating with paeans to the...