English Video

333 Saints: A Life of Scholarship Under Threat from Alexandra Huddleston on Vimeo.

Title: “333 Saints: a Life of Scholarship Under Threat”

Length: 5 minutes

Introduction: The photographs in the following video were taken in 2007 in the region of Timbuktu, Mali, a landlocked country in West Africa.  At that time, Mali was one of Africa’s most stable democracies.  Timbuktu had regained its ancient fame as a center of Islamic scholarship.

Political chaos has now over-taken the north and south of Mali.  Timbuktu is controlled by rebel groups connected to al-Qaeda.  Not only are thousands of ancient manuscripts and holy sites under threat, but also an ancient scholarly culture….

Objective: The objective of this video and its corresponding website is to provide cultural context to the current conflict in the north of Mali, with a focus on Timbuktu.  To do so, it uses a photographic series that presents an in-depth view of Timbuktu’s tradition of Islamic scholarship, an ancient form of learning influenced by Sufism and characterized by tolerance, plurality, and a deep joy in and respect for learning.

This video calls for religious freedom and cultural self-determination for the people of Timbuktu, Mali.

Please share widely

Credits: Text and photography by Alexandra Huddleston

Recording and sound editing by Brian Stillman

Introductory music: “Hibernal;” Stock audio provided by Ian Hubball/ Pond5.com


14 thoughts on “English Video

  1. Excellent video Alexandra! It is wonderful to see you using your talents to highlight such a noble & threatened culture. I will be sure to share video. Thanks & keep up the great work!

  2. Alexandra this is a powerful video. Your photographs are beautiful and now heartbreaking. I am so grateful you had the opportunity to be there in 2007 and make these images.

  3. Beautiful. The hadith recited here says it all. Thank you for sharing. I hope that many others will see this and will join the call.

  4. This is a very fine short presentation on the historical signifigance of Timbuktu and northern Mali Alexandra. Thank you for bringing your photography and work with the local scholars and citizens of Timbuktu to the world’s attention via this new blog___ albeit I forgot how I came across “333 Saints” online today in my research of news and analysis on the Mali crisis.

    In regards to spreading the word via the blogosphere I would love to reference your video and use a few excerpts from your text at my blog. “333 Saints” ties in nicely with some work on Mali by documentary filmmakers and TV networks I am focusing on here in Germany (and in France). It would be helpful to know exactly what can be shared (video, text, photos) from this site as there is no CC (Creative Commons License) reference and I wouldn’t want to violate any copyrights.

    Looking forward to your reply and updates to the site and again, Danke Schon!

  5. Alexandra, I am so glad that you sent this video to me. I have been thinking of you and your mom and dad since all of these horrible events have occurred in Mali. This is a wonderful testimony that I will share widely.

  6. Such a interesting and beautiful video, while explaining some very hard realities. Thank you for your thorough work!

  7. Alex- your work and narrative honors the people of Timbuktu, particularly tragic in the face of recent events. Thank you for continuing to educate and inspire us all.

  8. I found your video on the Malian Embassy’s website when looking for up to date information on the Islamic Militants movement into Konna as I have friends nearby in Sevare. Thank you for the reverence you share for the Malian culture. I have shared your video.

  9. Today there is this news: Timbuktu Mayor: Mali Rebels Torched Library of Ancient Manuscripts
    Luke Harding, Guardian UK
    Harding reports: “Islamist insurgents retreating from Timbuktu set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts, according to the Saharan town’s mayor, in an incident he described as a ‘devastating blow’ to world heritage.”

  10. Merci Alexandra pour ce mail qui me permets d’avoir de tes nouvelles.
    Lors de la conférence sur les écoles coraniques organisée à Bamako courant 2008, j’avais été émerveillé par ton exposé et l’exposition photo que tu en avais fait. Le présent films résume effectivement les réalités de l’enseignement coranique au Mali et gagnerait à être publié. Je souhaite vivement la parution de ce livre bilingue qui restitue un pan important de l’islam malien avant les bouleversements de ces derniers temps occasionnés par des mouvements extrémistes.
    Bon vent à toi.

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