This year's first month ends with a tremendous sorrow. I'm sure you've heard the news of a part of Timbuktu manuscripts have been destroyed by the militants about a week ago.(The latest article on MSNBC. 02/02/2013) When the news of the militants stated invading Mali broke out last year, I KNEW they were going to harm the libraries sooner or later. But, I just kept praying that they would spare the libraries, - one of the most important treasures that the continent of Africa could offer. My prayer was unanswered unfortunately. Back in 2000, we were offered to go to Timbuktu to assist the locals on the preservation of thousands of newly discovered, untranslated, unknown manuscripts of which UNESCO was a sponsor. We declined the offer, but kept a close eye on the progress of their efforts on cataloging, restoration and the study of the contents over the years. So, when I heard the news of the attack, I took it personally and my heart physically ached. I broke two pencils in half out of rage. One of the latest news reports that "custodians of the libraries worked quietly throughout the militant occupation to ensure the safety of the manuscripts." but if it wasn't the case, we lost a world heritage, yet again.
I was working on a book that was damaged by the fire when the news was being broadcasted. I kept thinking about the fate of this book being saved and that of a thousand-year-old manuscripts being burnt to ashes by the a$$holes... As I'm writing this, I'm getting upset again.. >:O
Anyway, the book I "saved" is The Private Journal of Capt. G. F. Lyon, published by John Murray in London. (First Edition, 1824) The restoration involved replacing the leather spine and corners with antiqued leather, facsimile gold tooling on the spine and internal cloth hinges.