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What the Islamist Takeover of Northern Mali Really Means

posted on July 23, 2012

At The New Republic, Eliza Griswold writes that the recent violence in Northern Mali is not just a blow to one of the few democratic states in western Africa, but also is a blow to world history. “Over the past two weeks, men in open jeeps with fluttering black flags have rolled up on many of Timbuktu’s 333 holy sites and taken pick axes to the ancient mud-hewn shrines,” writes Griswold. “Since the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001, Timbuktu’s holy sites are the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites to be systematically destroyed.” And according to Griswold, there are direct parallels between Afghanistan and Mali. “Like their Afghan precursors who aimed at erasing Buddhism’s long history in Afghanistan, the members of Ansar al Dine claim that decimating many the holy sites of Timbuktu is a matter of religious ‘cleansing.’” 

Read at The New Republic