Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"French and Malian Forces Retake Timbuktu"--I never thought I would live long enough to see this headline. See here a photo of a cherished possession I received while serving there and my own short personal comment on the situation

French and Malian Forces Retake Timbuktu

In the early 1980's I served as a Marine Security Guard at the US Embassy in Bamako, Mali. I visited several areas in Mali, including Timbuktu.  It was like stepping back in time.  It truly is a sad thing that buildings, structures and a unique culture that have been in place for centuries are under attack, physically and spiritually, by outsiders with an radical agenda.

Have you EVER ever heard of Mali before?  Probably not. The Mailian people are generally the most kind, polite, sincere and peaceful people on the planet and I was the recipient of those virtues in large doses on many occasions in the time I spent there.  Malians find ways to thrive in conditions that make subsistence an everyday challenge. 

The photo above is a cherished possession of mine. It is a decorative bag that local workers in the Embassy motor pool chipped in to purchase for me as a going away gift when my tour of duty was over.  I remember to this day (31 years ago) the feeling I got when they presented it to me.  They could not afford to do this, but they did it anyway. 

This generosity is typical of Malians. They don't deserve the tribulations that are being visited upon them.  I pray it stops soon before before a full scale humanitarian disater occurs.

The time I spent there STILL pays dividends for me as a citizen and as a teacher.  The lessons of hope amidst extreme poverty I learned so long ago are not lost on me to this day.  I never would have known that if I had not served there.

God Bless the people of The Republic of Mali. 

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