Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I quote:
“Mosque project stopped.
The Mosque in Djenne in Mali contains unique Arabic documents such as copies of the Koran, books about magic and the oral islamic tradition, and these are being digitized by the British Library. But recently the project was stopped: the town’s religious establishment owns a large number of the documents, and they now insist that only the Koran is digitized, and absolutely no books that deal with the oral or magic tradition.”

This notice appeared in Svenska Dagbladet (a Swedish quality broadsheet) on the 23rd of April this year! I found the little cutting at my mother’s place.

It is of course, thankfully, as all faithful readers of this journal know, utter tripe!
For a start, there are NO manuscripts in the Djenne mosque! There was once a library in the mosque, but the manuscrips that were kept there have been transferred, either to the Djenne Manuscript Library or to the private library of the Imam. He may well be the 'religious authority' referred to, but we are not digitizing any of his manuscripts and they represent only a minute proportion of the manuscripts of Djenne! The rest is owned by individual families of Djenne and they are free to do as they like: an astonishing number have handed their manuscripts over for safe keeping and digitization in the Djenne manuscript Library.

The British Library project steams on regardless of political and practical difficulties, and every night ca 300 new images, representing all different subject matter including magic are added to the digital collection of Djenne, which is already many, many times larger than that of Timbuktu! (where the future of the manuscripts is now uncertain.)

I immediately wrote a letter to the newspaper asking them to retract. I also offered to write an informative article for them about the project.

Where on earth do people get their information from???


Blogger Gilliane said...

Good that you found this cutting and are able to inform them of the truth ! Sophie, you can write a splendid article and they SHOULD publish it, generating must needed positive PR for Djenne ( including your hotel and Mali Mali ) LOVE Gilliane xxx

5:39 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Thanks Gillioane,yes,let's hope they will let me write something for them!
lots love Sophiex

7:52 AM  

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