In a surprising turn of events it has been revealed that the reporting on the burning of manuscripts in Timbuktu was grossly distorted by Western media. But the good news is this:
Other reports now suggest just 2,000 manuscripts were kept at the Ahmed Baba Institute while a further 28,000 were transferred safely to Bamako last year. According to these reports, efforts to save the manuscripts began as soon as northern Mali fell to Tuareg rebels last year. So while some manuscripts may have been destroyed, or looted, by fleeing rebels, the bulk of the collection appears to have been saved.Librarians win one against the forces of ignorance and war!
Sorry for the short diary, I thought it was worth it to get the info out there.