Tears for Timbuktu

News that Timbuktu had been freed from Taleban insurgents was accompanied  by gruesome photographs of the suffering war inflicts. Then came a report that the famous library was in flames. Who today will not shed tears for Timbuktu? Of course people are more important than things, but the destruction of an irreplaceable cultural legacy is also a cause for tears. We have seen the same story repeated over and over again. It seems it is not enough to destroy human beings, their history must also be burned or smashed out of existence.

It is at such times that I believe praying for peace takes on it most profound level of meaning. We are not weakly asking for all the nastiness to go away; we are not kidding ourselves that prayer exempts us from action; we are deliberately and knowingly accepting into ourselves something of the horror and tragedy of war and asking God to transform it. The Romans used to say that anyone who desires peace should prepare for war. The Christian who desires peace must invite God into the depths of human misery and grief, that He may bring peace where there is none. Left to ourselves, we can do nothing.


2 thoughts on “Tears for Timbuktu”

  1. Theese days I find life to be nothing but struggle and despair… most days I find myself in tears because I just cannot see any way forward.

    This post is a help for me to get things into perspective. One’s own problems and struggles suddenly seem just ordinary, compared to the tragic events that unfold all around the world.
    Yes, people are and always will be more important than things. Nevertheless it is deeply sad that the famous libraries in Timbuktu have now more or less been destroyed. What treasures we have lost!

    So today my tears are for all those suffering people in war zones, and for the sad loss of an ancient and irreplaceable cultural legacy. Anyone with just the slightest interest in history and old manuscripts (like myself) will mourn this loss.

Comments are closed.