Originally published 04/23/2013
Homemade twig pens stand like off-duty soldiers in a jar on Boubacar Sadeck's worktable. The morning sun steals into a room stuffed with a jumble of papers, ink bottles and stretched animal hides. He sits thoughtfully before a blank sheet of paper, with several old manuscripts — the color of dark tea and covered with Arabic script — open at his side.Occasionally a breeze wafts in and playfully flicks one of the old brown pages to the floor.Copying the words of ancient scholars in elegant Arabic calligraphy makes Sadeck feel close to heaven."My weakness, my love, is calligraphy," said the scribe, who fled Timbuktu, famed for its collection of centuries-old manuscripts, when Islamist militias invaded last year. "If I go a day without writing, I feel as if something is missing or strange. When I sit down with my paper and my pen, I feel wonderful. I feel at ease."Copying and recopying old manuscripts is an ancient Timbuktu calling. In the 15th century, there were hundreds of scribes; the job was one of the most highly paid and prestigious occupations in the city, then an intellectual center and trade hub....
- Hawaii False Alarm Hints at Thin Line Between Mishap and Nuclear War
- Ohio Teacher Put on Leave After Lynching Remark to Black Student
- One year in, Donald Trump has redefined the presidency
- In Trump’s Immigration Remarks, Echoes of a Century-Old Racial Ranking
- Secret Tunnel in Berlin Is an Echo From the Cold War
- Ibram X. Kendi says "The Heartbeat of Racism Is Denial”
- Historians Call Trump’s ‘Sh*thole’ Comment "The Most Openly Racist by a President in Decades"
- Bruce Cole, renaissance scholar who led National Endowment for the Humanities, dies at 79
- New book lays out for the first time the full story of Cuba's Cuban Missile Crisis
- Doug Brinkley says "Trump is the most racist president since Woodrow Wilson"