Timbuctoo and Timbuktu on BBC’s The Hub with Tahir Shah


the very name Timbuktu at least in Western literature evokes images of a fabled ancient metropolis in a remote desert but the architectural heritage of this great city is under attack literally the UN Security Council is now passed a resolution calling for sanctions against the Islamist fighters in northern Mali who’ve destroyed the ancient tombs in the city a World Heritage Site Council condemned the construction of sacred tombs would held back from giving a UN mandate to a proposed West African force to help fight the rebels we’re here in the hub we can go to Paris and join the author of the novel the timbuktu by Taher Shah and Terry you got a very mournful expression on your face I know your book about Timbuktu was basically a love letter about Timbuktu tell us about your reaction to this destruction of some of the great tombs there though you’re so right I’m in love with the the whole idea the passionate idea of Timbuktu is a far away distant place and it’s very very sad for me to actually come on a program like this and to have Timbuktu in the news for all the wrong reasons it’s you know just hearing your introduction they’re sending shivers down my spine because Timbuktu it’s it’s happening right now that it’s glorious amazing heritage this very fragile architectural and cultural heritage is being destroyed wiped off the face of the earth right now right this week and you know the UN and African forces go you know can be talking they talk talk talk but they’re not they’re doing anything on the ground and so it’s just going to go it’s going to go just like the Taliban destroyed Bamiyan and it’s going to happen all over again and what is being lost we’re looking at the images now of the attacks on on the tombs on the sacred sites what is being lost in terms of this history so what people have to realize is that you know for centuries the European powers went on about Timbuktu because they got the wrong end of the stick they thought Timbuktu was a golden city that it had golden treasure but really that was wrong Timbuktu had treasure all right but it was cultural treasure it was a center of his ancient Islamic learning and particularly it was a Sufi Center way way way in the desert and what is being lost is this extraordinary sufi heritage which you know i mean you’re saying you’ve seen the pictures you know guys with pickaxes knocking down these Moors alia now they’re saying they’re starting to break down the mosques because they’re saying they’re associated to the sufis as well and it’s happening right now I mean I for one as someone who’s passionate about Timbuktu just wish the world would wake up because it’s as I say it’s bum yarn and Taliban all over again would what would what could stop it I don’t know um maybe nothing and maybe I’m just one of the people you know just just talking when I should maybe be down there myself trying to stop it but that’s a really good point what can be done it’s very hard it’s a very complicated situation that is taking place in in northern Miley at the moment there was kind of a kind of a hijacking of the Twilight you know these try our egg tribesmen they had their little mother big sort of coup d’état and of the root of the region they took over and and really there’s been a huge flood south of weapons from Libya and it’s a knock-on effect you know from from the Arab Spring and Timbuktu is now feeling the force of that we’ll have to leave it there to moreover thank you very much for joining us and thank you very much for being with us here in the hub just time to be the latest score from the semi-final Wimbledon Andy Murray’s two sets to one up against jo-wilfried tsonga

8 comments

  1. Tahir, thanks for posting this..I missed it originally. Seeing it has helped me better understand the situation.

  2. Hi Tahir, Thanks for this. What about Mecca and Medina??? Its not only in Libya, Mali but also in the heart of Arabia. Address the root cause please.

  3. gud news Tahar, apparently the pole of time-;) have answered our prayers and timbuctu is about to be liberated from the mad talibanists..hope those ancient marabouts could b repaired ..happy new year btw

  4. It looks like good news for Mali and Timbuktu. We'll see what has survived. Hopefully there will be more good news from that area. Happy new year to you, too!

  5. Thanks! I'm happy to hear that. It's a part of the world that didn't appear in the news much until this year, so a lot of people didn't have very much background information on it.

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