NTS Did you hear about the library in Timbuktu?
Brid No, why? [excited] Did they find an ancient library buried there?
NTS [shakes head] No.
Brid [much less excited] Oh. Was it burnt down by extremists?
Brid Damn. Got it in two.
NTS The worldwide academic community was in an uproar.
Brid Yes, that’s how you get a response from the academics: burn down a library. Kill loads of people? Well, that’s kind of what extremists do. But burn down a library? How could they? What sort of terrible person burns books?
Moral of the story: Academics are terrible people. And extremists need to stop killing things and stop burning books.
This story of Timbuktu took me back to a few weeks ago, as one of my professors bemoaned the terrible fate of the library of Alexandria and all the knowledge ‘we’ lost that day. I could almost see him standing in a small boat off the coast, watching the flames climb high into the night, tearing his hair in anguish but unable to tear his eyes away.
On a more cheerful note, the article is really inspiring. It’s the story of one man, saving thousands of years of history.