Timbuktu is an ancient city located in central Mali. Being an ancient place, Timbuktu and most places within it are historic and significant to the world. With the city itself being founded in the early 12th century, the city is also home to one of the worlds earliest universities – Sankore University. Sankore which was founded in 989 AD is a learning center home to the university itself, Djinguereber Mosque (built in 1327), and Sidi Yahya Mosque (built in 1440). In addition to a thriving university, Timbuktu was a major trade port, specializing in trading salt, ivory and gold throughout the world. Explorers would die trying to reach the intellectual vibrancy of the once called kingdom. But now, Timbuktu is a city on the edge of existence. In 2009, Timbuktu’s population was 54,453 but has dropped significantly to less than 15,000 people today. The ancient city in the nation of Mali is no longer a trade port. But what is the cause of Timbuktu’s fall over the past few years? War and violence, climate change and desertification, and human neglect have caused the city of Timbuktu to be facing extinction.
One major cause of Timbuktu’s fall is war and violence. Ever since 2012-13, Timbuktu has been occupied by secessionists and Islamists who have connections to Al-Qaida. The occupiers who came to bring law and order have committed acts ranging from increasing prices of goods, blocking traffic in and out of the city, to cutting people’s body parts off, and taking girls to prison and flogging and raping them. France unsuccessfully attempted intervention militarily, which also led to the United Nations stationing 1,200 helmeted peacekeepers to patrol the streets in the city of only 15,000 people. Once a thriving trade port in the world, Timbuktu is considered a dangerous place to travel to. Journalists are advised to be accompanied by the United Nations on trips to Timbuktu. No public flights are available for the Malian public to the now silent city, and the 600 mile drive to Timbuktu from Mali’s capital, Bamako, is deemed dangerous. UNESCO (organization for the UN) has placed Timbuktu on its list of sites in danger. Unfortunately, the violence in Timbuktu hasn’t ended, and a peace deal for Northern Mali has yet to be signed.
Climate change and the problems it brings is also a contributing factor to the fall of Timbuktu. As a city of sand and dry heat, the temperatures in Timbuktu can range from 68º to 108º Fahrenheit. Timbuktu has gone through desertification, which is where fertile land changes into desert. One of the effects of the desertification nowadays is that a canal transporting water to Timbuktu from the Niger River has dried up. People then tried digging holes to collect rainwater or the canals runoff water, but the wind the rain brought forced them to dig deeper and deeper until they just gave up. Although Mali has seen the worst rain it’s seen in half a century, it hasn’t benefited the people, for example, the people who tried to collect the rainwater. Instead, the rain washed away crops, bringing hunger to Timbuktu, and sets off explosives that rebels planted in towns and even homes. In addition to that, the Sahel Region (a region of countries in Africa including Mali and Timbuktu) is now regarded as the most vulnerable locations to climate change and desertification and is currently going through a drought.
Finally, many ancient historic manuscripts located in Mali were stolen and destroyed, which can also be a contributing factor to the human neglect of Timbuktu. In 2013, Islamist rebels who were retreating from Timbuktu set fire to a library that was home to thousands of priceless historic manuscripts. The mayor called the tragedy a ‘devastating blow’ to world heritage. In addition to the library, they also burned down the town hall, the governor’s office, an MP’s residence and shot and killed a man. Although French and Malian troops rushed to Timbuktu, they were too late to save the manuscripts and found them burned. The manuscripts were a part of both Malian heritage, and world heritage. While on an interview with Bamako (Mali’s capital), one man said by destroying them they threaten the world. This loss of historic information could also add to the human neglect of Timbuktu. Many people around the world are misinformed or just don’t know what Timbuktu is. They either think it’s a country, a city that is no longer one, or even a made up city. Also, a lot of people think Timbuktu is in the middle of nowhere, and have created a joke that people who travel might just randomly end up in Timbuktu. Already, people don’t know anything about Timbuktu or use it as a joke, which is a certain level of human neglect. Even though the library and the manuscripts being burned got a lot of attention, now people might not find anything interesting about Timbuktu anymore since the manuscripts that were ancient and had a lot of information about the world’s history are gone. That brings the human neglect level even higher.
Once one of the worlds most important, most significant cities, Timbuktu has unfortunately fallen to its knees facing the challenges of war and violence, climate change and desertification, and human neglect. Maybe, hopefully, Timbuktu might rise again, but until then, the remaining people living in Timbuktu will continue to live in these tough circumstances.
Research Question: Why Did Perceptions of Gaddafi Range from Support and Appreciation Among the Libyans to Intimidation Among the Westerners?
Thesis Statement: Perceptions of Gaddafi Differentiated because Gaddafi’s Actions Had Different Impacts on Who They Were Targeted Towards.
Topic Sentence 1: The Libyans supported and appreciated Gaddafi
The Libyans and Africa generally appreciated Ghaddafi because of his accomplishments meant to improve the lives of every day Libyans. For example, Muammar Ghaddafi was the very first to build a gigantic pipeline that turned the desert of Libya into fertile land by transporting thousands of gallons of water. This huge engineering project was known as GMMR or the Great Manmade River. Another way he benefited the Libyans was healthcare and education was free for the public. If a Libyan citizen couldn’t access a certain healthcare operation or educational course in Libya, they were funded to travel abroad. Newlyweds were given $50,000 to help build their new family and women who gave birth were given $5,000 for herself and her child. Owning a home was considered a human right under Ghaddafi’s rule. He stated in his The Green Book that, “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.” Libya was virtually debt free. Everyone had access to food and was not malnourished. Electricity was free and the price of petrol was as low as $0.14. Another great thing about Libya under Ghaddafi’s rule was that gender equality was an actual reality. Almost all of Ghaddafi’s bodyguards were women. Yes, he was a dictator but besides a few uprisings here and there, he had a more than 80% approval rate in Libya. When under Ghadafi, Libya had the highest living standard in Africa and one of the highest in the world.
Topic Sentence 2: The Westerners were intimidated by Gaddafi.
Gaddafi was originally on friendly terms with the West but the tension was starting to grow between Libya and the West. The two opposing sides fired at each other off the Libyan coast in March 1986. Two Libyan ships were sunk. The next month, evidence was found that Gaddafi was behind a bomb that injured more than 200 people in a Berlin disco, killing two American soldiers. The United States retaliated with air strikes in Libya. US navy attack jets and bombers from bases in England were- used. During the attacks, Gaddafi’s 15-month old adopted daughter was killed and his two sons were injured. Then on December 21, 1988, the Pan Am 747 Boeing plane took off for Frankfurt Germany unaware of the explosives on board. As it flew over Lockerbie, Scotland it exploded killing everyone on board and 11 people on the ground. Following U.S and U.N demands, Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the bombing and paid $8 million to each victim’s family. In return, sanctions were lifted. Another major reason why Gaddafi was viewed as a threat to the West was he wanted Africa to unite. He was planning to create an African Union. This would have been backed by an African economy. He wanted to create the “Gold Dinar” to back African currencies. This would have lowered the value of the Dollar and the Euro since Africa is the most resource-rich continent in the world.
Topic Sentence 3:Gaddafi left a legacy that would inspire military leaders.
Gaddafi left a legacy that inspired all of Africa. He was called the King of African Kings. Nelson Mandela’s grandson was named after him. He inspired South Africans to fight for their liberations and supported anti-apartheid movements. He funded Nelson Mandela’s campaign to become the first black president in South Africa. He backed rebellions in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Basically, he supported and inspired great African leaders to fight back against modern colonialism and white supremacy.
Research Question: How did European colonialism affect the Rwandan Genocide?
Thesis: The Rwandan Genocide was a recent tragedy that has its roots in European colonialism. The European colonists created extreme racial divisions to divide the Rwandans then theses racial divisions later manifested in the Rwandan Genocide and other conflicts.
Topic Sentence #1:
The Belgians and the Germans used race to divide the Rwandans by issuing race
cards and making the Tutsis the ruling class dividing the Rwandans and making the Hutus feel inferior.
Topic Sentence #2: The racial tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis has erupted in violence before the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 such as in 1959 when the king of Rwanda-Urundi died and again in 1986.
Topic Sentence #3:The racial tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis has erupted in violence before the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 such as in 1959 when the king of Rwanda-Urundi died and again in 1986.
Cummins, Joseph. The World’s Bloodiest History; Massacre, Genocide, and the Scars They Left on Civilization. Quayside Publishing Group, 2010.
Rusesabagina, Paul, and Tom Zoellner. An Ordinary Man; The True Story behind Hotel Rwanda. Bloomsbury, 2006.
Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450. Ed. Thomas Benjamin. Vol. 3. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. p996-998.
Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning
Africa: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. John Middleton. Vol. 1. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002. p151-167.
Research Question: Why is child labor happening and what can be done to stop it.
Thesis: The use of child labor in Africa exposes children to unsafe working conditions and deprives them of access to an education, so governments should take action by creating more schools and acting laws against child labor.
Topic Sentence #1: Three quarters of Africas child labors are working in very hazardous jobs.
Topic Sentence #2: Because the child labors spend so many hours working, they are denied an education.
Topic Sentence #3: Governments and other are trying to help by outlawing child labors and making more schools for kids to go to.
Research Question: What aspects of the Trans-Saharan trade had the biggest effect on Sub-saharan Africa’s economy?
Thesis: The Trans-Saharan trades most important contribution to Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy were made through the gold trade because it created a new source of profit, created new jobs, and opened trade with new nations.
Topic Sentence #1: The Trans-Saharan Gold trade had a large effect on Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy because it created a new source of profit that allowed for communities to thrive.
Topic Sentence #2: The Trans-Saharan Gold trade allowed for trade with new nations, bringing valuable goods to Sub-Saharan Africa.
Topic Sentence #3: Mining for gold created new job opportunities to make money, as well as a safety net of money to fall onto.
680451. India Varanasi Ghat. Pixabay. Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.
“Abraxas.” ccMixter, uploaded by Texasradiofish. Accessed 7 Apr. 2019.
Thesis: Breaking Ground has a unique and innovative approach to empowering Cameroonians, which includes partnering with local communities, supporting female entrepreneurs, and using soccer to reach at-risk youth.
Topic Sentence #1: Breaking Ground’s community partnerships program (1) provides grants to local communities who are mobilized to make positive change, (2) honors local innovation, knowledge, and expertise, and (3) achieves sustainable solutions by putting power in the hands of the people who care most — the community members.
Topic Sentence #2: Helping women start their own businesses is the best way to promote community development because (1) women are typically responsible business owners, (2) use their business income to invest in their families, and (3) can achieve great overall equality through the success of their businesses.
Topic Sentence #3: Breaking Ground’s soccer program empowers Cameroonians by (1) bringing together diverse groups of girls and young women, (2) providing them with a safe and supportive place to share their experiences, and (3) helping them overcome social and cultural obstacles.