A few of our readers over the years, from the earliest days to last week, have commented that they love our blog, but can’t always read it consistently, so horrific and upsetting is the world we chronicle.
Sorry ’bout that.
As I transition to civilian life, I’ll try to put aside childish things.
Islamist extremists torched a library containing historic manuscripts in Timbuktu, the mayor said Monday, as French and Malian forces closed in on Mali’s fabled desert city.
Ousmane Halle said he heard about the burnings early Monday.
“It’s truly alarming that this has happened,” he told The Associated Press by telephone from Mali’s capital, Bamako, on Monday. “They torched all the important ancient manuscripts. The ancient books of geography and science. It is the history of Timbuktu, of its people.”
Timbuktu, which lies on an ancient caravan route, has entranced travelers for centuries, is some 620 miles northeast of Bamako. During their rule, the militants have systematically destroyed UNESCO World Heritage sites in Timbuktu.
A spokesman for the Al Qaeda-linked militants has said that the ancient tombs of Sufi saints were destroyed because they contravened Islam, encouraging Muslims to venerate saints instead of God.
Among the tombs they destroyed is that of Sidi Mahmoudou, a saint who died in 955, according to the UNESCO website.
Timbuktu, long a hub of Islamic learning, is also home to some 20,000 manuscripts, some dating back as far as the 12th century.
I know, it’s awful!
But don’t fret. You won’t miss these priceless and unique manuscripts any more than you’ll miss the Bamayan Buddhas that the Taliban blew up, or the ancient artifacts looted from the Baghdad museum after liberation—or the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem atop which is built the Al Aqsa Mosque. Destroying and defiling are what Islamic “militants” do and always have. (If I were the Sphinx, I’d be looking over my shoulder.)
Just keep telling yourself that your world is still intact. Project Runway has returned to television and Heidi Klum’s legs and behind are as delectable as ever. They still make poppy bagels. The Red Sox will find new and untried ways to suck again this year.
And if that doesn’t work, tell yourself things could be worse:
A starving man in North Korea has been executed after murdering his two children for food, reports from inside the secretive state claim.
A ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae is believed to have killed up to 10,000 people and there are fears that incidents of cannibalism have risen.
The grim story is just one to emerge as residents battle starvation after a drought hit farms and shortages were compounded by party officials confiscating food.
Undercover reporters from Asia Press told the Sunday Times that one man dug up his grandchild’s corpse and ate it. Another, boiled his own child for food.
Famine? What famine?
Please. Don’t blame the messenger.
If this sort of thing bothers you, just remember the dinosaurs. Human existence may be fraught misery and cruelty, but at least we’re not entombed as fossils in rocks, or decomposed into deep pools of oil.
See? Don’t you feel better?
Don’t worry, I’m not blogging as much. These sorts of doggy downers won’t trouble you as much in the future.