The august, International Criminal Court at The Hague, recently began the trial of a leader of the Islamist Militants (Ansaru Din), who took over Timbuktu, Mali in 2012. The Islamist ruled the city for ten months and installed strict Sharia law and, in the process, killed residents and destroyed some old buildings and ancient manuscripts.
It was an open and shut case, as the leader on trial, who is also an Islamic scholar, immediately admitted to the charges, said he was really sorry and asked for forgiveness! That was pretty Catholic of him, and probably, was a shrewd defense strategy, with the cards well stacked against him.
This is a truly a unique trial, and is probably a sign of things to come. It is the first time ever, that damaging “Cultural Heritage” is elevated to a sufficiently heinous crime that warrants the convening of the International Court of Justice. It is sweet and civilized of the learned judges and countries behind them to seek the preservation of human culture, as reflected by old huts and manuscripts, in addition, hopefully to the preservation of lives of innocent people. If nothing else, it will keep the international tourist business thriving.
But what is truly amazing, is the total blindness of all involved. No one inside or outside the court could see the herd of elephants in the room! Trunk, tusks and all. No one seemed able to see the really heinous crimes committed daily throughout the world for the past fifty years. No one saw the destruction of complete cities, the murder of millions of combatants and “collateral damage” civilians, the displacement of many more millions and transforming them into refugees. Nations have been sliced and diced and then molded into deformed Frankensteins. But the world’s attention is directed towards Timbuktu.
Genghis Khan must be rolling in his grave with laughter, and probably singing the limerick: “There was a man from Timbuktu…”