Timbuktu and the Nazis

The calculated destruction of libraries and cultural artifacts has a long history. Reading about the recent and deliberate destruction in Timbuktu, Mali by al Qaeda-backed terrorists who had governed Timbuktu reminds one of the relentless zeal of dictators to annihilate artistic and religious expressions of creativity. It is, as Hector Feliciano has written in The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art, much more than mere theft. Thus, "[i]t is 'stealing the soul, meaning, and cultural standards' of collectors. Besides physical obliteration of their enemies, the victor's 'plundering'... rests in part on the looting and destruction of the cultural possessions of the enemy" (5-6). According to the February 1, 2013 Wall Street Journal article entitled "Historic Timbuktu Texts Saved From Burning" by Drew Hinshaw, the al-Qaeda "broke into one of the world's most valuable libraries, ripping centuries-old manuscripts from shelves. Then they torched these...(Read Full Article)