Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"created a parallel universe that combined medieval theology with twenty-first-century communication."

"But the three jihadi commanders, who had gotten used to act icing with near-complete autonomy, ignored Droukdel's admonitions - and they even bragged about their brutality.  In the new jihadi state, the Islamists created a parallel universe that combined medieval theology with twenty-first-century communication.  They flaunted their absolute power and their Sharia punishments in YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, and website communiqués" (Emphasis added)
This comes from pp. 171-172 of Joshua Hammer's The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu.  

I picked up the book at the library because of its title.  But as I started reading it, I found a world I knew nothing about:  the golden age of scholarship when Timbuktu was a center of learning and produced hundreds of thousands of manuscripts.  And despite the way Western textbooks (and a current US president) depict Africa as backward and illiterate, these manuscripts have been preserved and hidden over the centuries to keep them from being destroyed.

The book then veers into an overview of some of the more modern jihadist leaders who, enriched through smuggling, drugs, and kidnapping ransoms, have risen to power in the Sahara in this century.

The book is about those Malians and others who worked to keep the manuscripts safe from the new marauders who claim better knowledge of Islam than those who have read and guarded the centuries of manuscripts.

I'll leave readers to contemplate the quotation and its implications.  

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