News from Timbuktu

By Christopher B. Daly 

Could there be a more exotic dateline than this one?:


That’s the dateline on today’s news from west Africa. The Times’s Lydia Polgreen, hot on the heels of the Islamic radicals being chased out by the newly reinforced Malian army, offers readers a first-day story. The story may not be perfect or complete, but it is impressive as hell that a legacy news organization can get a correspondent to a place that is synonymous with remoteness.

One highlight of the coverage is this photo (by Benoit Tessier of Reuters) of two guys who obviously know a thing or two about survival:



The story contains a lot of heartbreak and misery, but to my mind, the worst part was the public amputation ordered by the Islamists during their brief reign of terror. I was also struck by this juxtaposition in the piece, near the end:

After the young man’s hand was cut off, the Islamists held it aloft and shouted “God is great” over and over, he said.

Dr. Maiga and his team hustled the young man into the ambulance and rushed him into the operating room to cauterize the wound, giving him powerful painkillers.

“I did what I had to do,” he said. “God help us.”

So, there you have it: one loving god on both sides. I’d say “heaven help us,” but I wouldn’t count on it.



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Filed under Journalism, New York Times

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