Monday, October 22, 2012

Ansar Dinde? Me voici in front of the Ansar Dine Djenne headquarters with Ali Toure, the local representative. ( He the suitor of Ariela, see February blog). I seem to have acquired a Turkey. It was like this: the whole day a long cavalcade of people passed by, ostensibly to say hello. And just by the by, would I be able to lend them/ give them twenty, fifty or hundred and fifty thousand francs in order for them to catch the market for the sheep? I said ‘no’, ‘yes’, ‘maybe’, ‘not possible,’ ‘are you mad?’ and ‘yes of course’, depending on the circumstances. Now, I will confess that I have always had a soft spot for Ali Toure, an excitable, verbose and beautiful Songhai Koran Master and a member of the Djenne Manuscript Library’s Management Committe. So when Ali passed by too with the same ulterior motive, I listened to his proposal with some amusement: He wanted to sell me his two turkeys for 40 000 francs in order to buy a sheep. If I bought our ceremonial Christmas turkey from Ali it would enable him to buy his ceremonial Tabaski ram. How could I refuse? So it was a done deed. Ali, by the way, assures me that the Djenne branch of the Ansar Dine has nothing to do with the Timbuktu Islamists of the same name. In Ali’s opinion the Timbuktu people are not even Muslims.


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