Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sunset encounter

Sidi, a young merchant from Timbuktu, came to visit me on my sunset terrace exactly a week ago. We had met in the library during the day. He was visiting relatives in Djenne- it was the first time he had left Timbuktu since the fall of the town into Islamists hands. Many of his friends had left, but he is responsible for his elderly parents, who do not want to leave. He was returning to Timbuktu on the bus the following day, while I left for Bamako. Sidi was sporting emerging stubble on his chin: he had shaved his enforced beard off once he arrived in Sevare. Now he had to regrow it. He talked calmly about the situation, taking the pragmatic view that if he kept out of the way of the Islamists, they would leave him alone.


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