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tv   Doc Film - Monuments Men of Timbuktu  Deutsche Welle  May 13, 2018 11:15am-12:00pm CEST

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for europeans to buc to was long a mysterious place in the middle of nowhere. today it is the scene of a battle to save an endangered cultural heritage the history of this ancient trading center the gateway to the desert is still in evidence here. at the same time the city also seeks to maintain its connection to the modern world in its heyday back in the fifteenth and sixteenth century timbuktu was one of the intellectual centers of the arab african world precious collections of manuscripts contained all the knowledge of the time that knowledge still lives on in numerous family libraries. these treasures were threatened when in april
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twenty twelve jehad us the militia occupied northern mali and timbuktu subjecting people there to tyranny. and destroying their sacred mausoleums the historic documents were in immediate danger. a unique rescue mission to save the manuscripts began. thank you. thank you abdel cutter haidara is one of the men behind the rescue mission thanks to him the cultural heritage did not fall prey to the islamist extremists. his family's library is now in safe keeping in bamako the capital of mali its collection of manuscripts is among
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timbuktu's largest and oldest. abdel cutter haidara is error and guardian to these treasures. the library is an important collection of scientific philosophical and theological manuscripts as well as literary texts written in arabic and african languages. the collections contain texts on issues of science and religion but also on everyday life love poems unique chronicles of west africa's kingdoms descriptions of ice surgery in the fourteenth century and discussions of the koran about the coexistence of muslims and christians that are still meaningful today haidar often refers to the old texts many of them are still surprisingly relevant.
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when we talk about good governance. you also have to create the necessary conditions for it. you have to do everything to find the right way towards such government. do not forget the workers do not forget the women do not forget the children so all of society must be well governed. another manuscript describes how foreigners should be treated it cites the story of hind place by a german expert on africa who came to timbuktu in eight hundred fifty three disguised as an arab he was arrested as a spy and like some other european explorers before him was to be executed but shake. him back to spiritual leader issued an islamic legal ruling that placed pollard under his protection. so not that
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he is our guest. foreigner. he did not come here with the intention to kill us not to wage war on. on that we do not have the right to kill him we do not have the right to seize his belongings since he is a citizen like everybody else. in the qur'an clearly states that no harm must come to him and not is of great significance. this is an example of islam is tolerance. for. this. but tolerance fell on hard times in timbuktu. in april twenty twelve islamist on saturday in militia invaded timbuktu and occupied the entire north of mali. in the name of islam they forced their dictatorial regime upon the population while
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seeing themselves as liberators. no not the good side of a pacific you said they were our path is peaceful our goal is religion so we don't need to conquer anything. islam condemns while the jihad aims at the extinction expulsion of those who oppose the spread of islam. it is not our goal to kill people or cause bloodshed. jihad aims at cleansing the country of those who defy shari'a and oppose the spread of islam. to secure suppose a lot of the from the sharia will up with us when we say. they came from the desert and islamist militia some of them with links to al qaida in the islamic magreb they are taking advantage of a military coup in mali's capital bamako and conquered the north of mali together with the separatists later they drove away their fighters at established their sole
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rule. the occupying militia was heavily armed and developed true faith as they understood it came from the barrels of guns. for ten months the islamist dominated every day life. some of the young fighters were former neighbors who had recently joined the militia. they enjoyed their feeling of importance and were well paid. every day life was organized strictly according to extremely rigid rules. the behavior of women was a special form in their side. when the islamists were here we didn't look at them we lowered our heads we had to wear gloves they wouldn't take the product out of our hands we put them down they took them and gave us the money and. we didn't look up again until they were gone no no
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part of our face was to be visible except our eyes they told us to look down and not approach anybody we weren't allowed to deal directly with them or barter products we just sat there with our eyes open and they hit us and accused us of ill doings yet. playing soccer was outlawed as were secular music mobile phone ring tones dancing smoking and alcohol the headscarf was mandatory for women and no uncovered skin was to be seen any violations were punished severely but the holy warriors had a hard time convincing the people of timbuktu. oh you come here claiming to be muslims because you have weapons you claim to be our leaders. instead you should assemble our muslims first and explain your knowledge of his law and to them. if muslims say we don't agree with that and i mean when you must bring forward your proof from the koran or the hoodie but if you point your weapons at muslims they will be afraid one day
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a muslim follows god's commandments for the sole reason that his heart is with god but if he's afraid of armed or his heart is unable to reach god anymore. i know you have been people can be afraid of weapons and still reach god. on their own but are more vocal issues. they forced a lot of things on us that we didn't respect that. was it the first thing that they wanted to force on os was their method of education. we wanted our children to continue going to school. they said that boys and girls had to be taught in separate classes. in class and they really explained to them that that was not possible when. we did not have enough classrooms or enough teacher else of. their class before
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in the end we had to accept boys and girls sitting in separate rows was in the right to live in that as the liberals. and certain classes like philosophy or the history of molly. we're not allowed to be taught any more of this is the. bible now school lessons in timbuktu have returned to normal. co-education of girls and boys was against the holy warriors morals to them all western education was haraam or forbidden especially for girls because it supposedly spoiled their character. by not looking but. during the occupation the girls of my generation felt suffocated. if they were allowed to dress or go out the way they wanted. to know that. we were separated from our friends
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because many of them fled south we missed them and. we were unable to study because our school was closed for almost an entire year we couldn't go to school so we were lagging behind in our studies compared to them and that made us embarrassed i often off someone's hand for stealing or things like that. because the girls didn't wear headscarves until the arrival of the mujahedeen they said they didn't know that islam demands of all women wear a veil they look at the europeans for guidance they watch their movies they are manipulated by western media you may be press people but you know that the media are manipulative t.v. radio all they ever talk about is the western world that is why our daughters our wives and children want to live a western lifestyle. almost all how maha used to attend secondary school in
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timbuktu himself together with girls by occupying timbuktu he and his followers wanted to stop the advance of western lifestyle as they put it. or mark will have a hard scene here with his followers during the occupation and twenty twelve had a hard time winning over timbuktu's population and the local media to his religious goals. the chasm between his fundamentalist ideas and the historic city of learning and trade was too large. for the west timbuktu has long been a place of fable full of mystery and immeasurable treasures a symbol of the remote and unknown. but the city known as the pearl of the desert has centuries of history as an important west african crossroads today it belongs to mali. timbuktu has long been the gateway to the sahara desert and the
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world beyond. today it is home to some thirty thousand people who seek to maintain a connection to the modern world while maintaining many of their old traditions. just a few years ago ethnic conflicts were rare most of the time people coexisted peacefully fair skinned arabs and some guy who bella and many other ethnic groups with their different languages and cultures. girls went to unveiled and confident women handle business and teenagers probably thought of the same things as they do most everywhere only the ginger bear mosque dates back to the fourteenth century together with the other great mosques of timbuktu it formed the hub of west african scholarship during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in more than one hundred fifty quranic schools affiliated with the mosques the most distinguished islamic
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scholars of the magreb talk more than twenty thousand students they studied the koran and the prophet's life conducted scientific research and wrote down their findings in manuscripts to this day a moderate form of islam is practiced here strongly influenced by sufism and african religions. up to a man ben s.l.u.t. leads friday prayers a ginger bear mosque. the in the longs to a centuries old dynasty of scholars he watches over his family's library. moved to live a little in his career. many manuscripts have been passed down through generations
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. still and a great deal of them were not preserved properly and were damaged by whether want termites. our forefathers didn't know how important these manuscripts were and. tomorrow so but. one of. many family library it's near timbuctoo are in a disastrous condition they desperately need to be saved from destruction. up till carter haidara takes long drives to surrounding villages to inspect the manuscripts . he's been trying for years to convince the family leaders to hand over their
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treasures to his institute that way they can be restored as quickly as possible and the. negotiations are often long and tedious because they say they can't just hand over the family legacy. dora tries to convince the patriarch that soon nothing will remain to pass on to further generations if nothing is done to preserve the brittle manuscripts. the restoration work took place in high doris n.-g. a workshop called d.c.i. or in the state run institute in timbuktu. that was until war broke out in two thousand and twelve.
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according to legend madame bach to use to wait by a well in the desert looking after the belongings of the caravans the travellers would camp here in order to rest at. back to the well of buck two. it was located at the crossroads for trade creates that link to the mediterranean with the heart of africa. go. through it to. timbuktu has always been a place of encounter and cultural transformation. here a new civilization emerged. here not a on the route to mecca the way north of route a much used route to go with as long as people and goods pass for through here to flourish. to population. traders from the margret also brought their culture to west africa. the caravans
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transported salt ivory gold and slaves to egypt and morocco these were traded for conflict weapons and books in a sense timbuktu was the first global city and africa a center for the exchange of goods and knowledge a place of tolerance and coexistence of the many different peoples and cultures of the sahara region who came there to train. so the shot before them by two years before the march on tuesday this exchange of goods could be of material but also of the immaterial nature of your culture and writings from books were an important trading commodity or. that you could earn the most money in timbuktu your books who if you had you were not considered poor. and if i were a capias to did not live in poverty. there's a children who were sent to timbuktu by their parents who felt under trade.
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is all of those contributed to timbuktu's prosperity. there was no paper but it was important what they're shipped from morocco and europe so. everything that was needed was transported on the caravan routes. the caravans also carried books which were then solvers and of all of under some people who were not the first and foremost your traders would copy and write books and then sound and it really is a volatile. situation. i live book all of us all scholars and pupils meant to study the writings in the homes of theologians and preachers known
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as. some law holly or solo he. was. not a how to book left i mean lot of critics or large marabou families had their own manuscripts . and once they were family out again in the salon there back that is there but there. they were not so on but lent out if you needed a book you would borrow it from america. use it or live with that awful. name. we bomb. a lot. of.
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the manuscripts were also important guidebooks for people's daily lives in timbuktu and gave practical advice if for example a woman asked herself whether her illegitimate child could gain entry to paradise. but if i know that you're entering into paradise depends soley on good conduct everyone who dies as a muslim will enter paradise. this also applies to illegitimate children so there is no difference. each of us is responsible for his or her own actions. in a child is not responsible for its parent's actions towards god. according to the koran no one carries the burden of another person. all people are responsible for themselves is this. right from the beginning
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just how the rebels occupied the ottoman institute the state research center with its important library the basement contained over eleven thousand valuable manuscripts were the qur'anic interpretations in the old manuscripts not consistent with the fundamentalist islamic teachings where the manuscripts in danger mohammad a researcher at the institute was very concerned. yes to. the institute was a band that most of the employees had fled during the occupation. they left the manuscripts to their own fate. but the future seemed bleak there was no work so they were forced to leave. but nobody was permitted to enter the building which was built by south africa. but nobody was allowed to enter except for the occupying forces a. lot of people everyone was concerned the head of the ahmed baba
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institute the owners of the family libraries the population of timbuktu the delegation was sent into the jihadi camp to ensure that the manuscripts were safe. but. what value do the manuscripts of timbuktu have to you as an intellectual. so they contain our history they are us what i'll be without the manuscripts in this institute we can't imagine a community without them they are our history our culture. so you would do everything in your power to protect the manuscripts. we don't even need to discuss this. but was he to be trusted with the jihadist really safeguard the manuscripts. after the meeting the director wasn't sure what.
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we can cooperate with and sardines people. view their understanding people and. it is also their culture their religion. they too have grandfathers and trusted us with manuscripts. we share the same religion. so far nothing has been destroyed. but cars were confiscated and motorbikes. we don't know what's going to happen. we're going to do then followed what many people had predicted in may twenty twelve rebels began destroying the mausoleums. believers were supposed to pray directly to allah not to an ancient shrine. but the. other when we destroyed that people said we disturbed the grades but we didn't do anything to them. why would we have gone
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into the graves we didn't disturb any grapes we aren't even allowed to disturb the graves of nonbelievers according to islam building a house on top of a great that is not allowed. we destroyed the muslims because we didn't disturb any graves so we did nothing wrong. because a muslim leader is not consistent with sharia. i don't understand why it's not consistent with sharia it's not allowed the mound of the grave must be lower than the neatly. because of. the prices threaten the survival of the libraries is. the conquest of timbuktu came as a surprise. nobody saw it coming. after one month people ask themselves how things are going to continue like this when will it stop. slowly but surely they understood that these people had not come because of
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islam but because about other things. or the schools so we decided to take matters into our own hands some of them. after witnessing the destruction of the mausoleums everyone was aware that the manuscripts were in grave danger of. an amazing rescue mission began. on office of the young guy in a big bear we decided to save the books because of the war in the north of mali won by. the everyone was fleet like that over the traders with their goods and their money. our fortune lies in our cultural heritage. so we did everything in our power to smuggle it out of the war sound like and that is the normal thing to do. the manuscripts were first
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removed from the publicly known might very soon because the just how this would target them first. the libraries were empty shelves and showcases cleared. in may twenty twelve thousand works were safely removed from a so you tease library imo. this was to be just the beginning of a large scale rescue mission that lasted six months. the some of this in the book at the club we secretly hit the manuscript to send
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specially main trunk. let alone the little mothers because. these were then carried away by river of course the foreign cars all with donkey carts across the city on the other the world live in in absolute secrecy of legal disgraceful. if someone screamed. at first the trunks were stored in the homes of the families the books originally belonged to. unesco and its representative in mali followed the operation from the sidelines the world heritage was at stake here. that. we were in daily contact with us that. we had the obligation and a great responsibility not only to protect our sources of information but also protect those who were putting their lives at stake here or. the people who were
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trying to say up the manuscripts in the manuscript in defense of. some families decided to hide their libraries in timbuktu. during the occupation everyone tried to hide their manuscripts. and some of them took them to bamako. we decided to store them here in different locations. we believe that transporting them through the streets would have involved too many obstacles and was too dangerous. we weren't sure if they would make it to bamako. so the family council decided to divide the trunks up among family members and hide them and various secret locations here in timbuktu. most of the
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manuscripts however bush shipped safely out of the city in october twenty twelve the un security council declared its readiness to respond to molly's request for an international military force. it was clear that the world's cultural heritage had to be evacuated from the war zone to prevent it from being destroyed by car. by boat by motorbike by road by water way. to force issues. evacuation of the manuscripts had begun north of young men was that. we were informed of that. we had to keep the mission a secret do we had to protect those who were risking their lives or supplant their . so. the trunks were transported over
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a thousand kilometers to minus capital bamako. would demand we removed many manuscripts from the war zone to be precise we managed to salvage ninety five percent of the region's manuscripts. hor. but the gist harvests were not the only problem again and again there were incidents with police officers during the long journey. every checkpoint could potentially put a stop to the evacuation mission. it was a dangerous mission about two hundred activists and volunteers were involved often risking their own lives more than two thousand trunks were smuggled from timbuktu to bamako with no losses. every checkpoint posed
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a security threat with police officers on loud them to pass or what they confiscate the trunks leaving them to hold stolen goods. on. the other. one of. those in charge of the operation repeatedly had to intervene either in person or by telephone and give confirmation to the police officers that everything was above board and the necessary paperwork was available for inspection. this went on day after day night after night for several months. and quiet up did see. the incredible courage that these heroes of timber. to display to the packers not simply remain soley the responsibility of mali. we
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needed to help them. along using all our resources when formed the international community and on this and that. and we also contacted the un security council the important we sounded the alarm yet we wanted the world to know what was happening in mali huntin back to. the past miles. on a path we could only intervene with the means available to us. and we were frustrated because unesco doesn't have an army a purpose for that in a square the. military forces then moved in in january twenty third team during operation set about the french and mali and forces we took him back to as well as the entire north of mali. the islamist insurgents often retreated without
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resistance into the desert and disappeared without a trace. but they left behind destroyed mosul liam's burned manuscripts and a traumatized population. while we're treating the hottest had burned about four thousand manuscripts. you for weeks french and mali and troops relentlessly pushed forward into northern mali tanks world along the main road between timbuktu and bamako. the evacuation of manuscripts was either recruited to side roads or continued by boat. sometimes a transportation vehicle was shot at an error from an aircraft when it was suspected that weapons were in the trunks.
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the tissues. the strategy of these armed groups the groups that move was to take everything from the residents of timbuktu that was of vital importance to them it dick in fallujah if that is taken from them or they no longer have any points of reference. it will be as if they had never even existed. there with their they existed attitude among war lead if you are nothing. it's easy to manipulate here. i am accompanied when they can do what they like with you. we had to prevent cost what it may is going to differ young absalom us over it as over the.
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last year. we had to look on as the more the limbs were destroyed. the same as happened in power my rebellious. and i'm sure same as happened in most of the muslim. that ensures the same as happened in yemen yemen and in other countries . after more than six months the rescue operation was largely completed over three hundred seventy seven thousand manuscripts from thirty five family libraries and the state owned library have been saved ninety nine percent and all. the last
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trusts arrived in bamako in february twenty thirty and the family libraries from timbuktu were finally in safety again in the new center belonging to haidar as n.g.o.s. haidar check the condition of the boxes and manuscripts had they been further damaged during transport in balloch oh a new danger was awaiting the manuscripts had been preserved for centuries in a dry desert climate and were already in fragile condition in bamako a rainy season lasting several months and high humidity took a further toll on the old documents the restoration work that had begun before the occupation was now even more urgent. but most of timbuktu's mausoleums couldn't be protected from the islamists vandalism thirteen of the sixteen ancient tombs had been destroyed. reconstruction of this world cultural
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heritage in timbuktu began soon after liberation with the help of us go the work including the mausoleum at ben a so you taste ginger bear mosque. with the support of the international community all the buildings have been. reconstructed. but without military protection this part of our world cultural heritage could not have been preserved. that is one of the better lessons learned from timbuktu. at the savannah institute in bamako the work of preserving the manuscripts which had been interrupted by war could finally be resumed. it's a race against time. every loose leaf collection of documents is given its own box for protection and storage.
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next the documents are catalogued and digitalized. the long term objective is to create a central catalog and a public online database that can be accessed by international researchers so far only a small portion of the manuscripts have been studied by researchers. this one is live on the public the manuscripts that have been heavily damaged must be repaired and restored as soon as possible. but most important of all focus and they have to be translated for the right. focus would translate them and make them available to the public at large. made to the. people. in the western understanding of africa it's often assumed that the
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continents tradition is only an oral one passed on through stories music and dance but the manuscripts show that the african continent has a long history of islamic scholarship and literacy and an important scientific and philosophical tradition now this cultural heritage can be made available to everyone for africans it is part of their identity. the one with all of timbuktu his heritage is based on its manuscripts. education is based on them good conduct morals are based on the manuscripts they embody the light of him about to. lumiere numbers that. every restored manuscript that is added to the shelves makes this light shine again . to the excellent example of him to give courage and strength to other people as well. everywhere
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in the world war. two they. give it work to. do it can work in moser mash and in palmyra. mashi you can work in tunisia the mashie in libya yemen. where you men whenever world cultural heritage becomes a military target the population must not be left alone to deal with it. that is why we see timbuktu as a great success story. and play classics. haidara two can be proud of the successful rescue mission but to this day some of his dreams remain unfulfilled. more memorable my
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dream is that one day we'll be able to say there are no problems left in timbuktu on them they're meant to take all our manuscripts and return them to timbuktu so that's my dream. but that day has yet to come it will take some time before the manuscripts can safely return to timbuktu. the jihadists have been expelled for now but they have not been defeated the situation in timbuktu remains tense and its cultural heritage is still in danger. the manuscript still have a long journey home ahead of them.
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you're listening. to. find out more about prince harry's trying to make. is it the interactive museum installed. as we gear up for the girls mission song contest in lisbon. the roma the thirty minute w n. one drug is coming. to see
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player linear legalese. little. this is due to the news coming from berlin explosions rocked indonesia's second largest there's ebonics go off at three churches in the port city of sirte by a police say at least eleven people have been killed with scores wounded lou bringing you the latest from the region also coming up. french investigators identify the attacker behind a stopping rampage in paris.


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