February 3, 2013 - TIMBUKTU, Mali
The afternoon sun is low in the sky, and the clouds and trees reflect in the glass-still water of a canal linking the city to the Niger River, which spans the length of West Africa. In a sky that dwarfs the sandy shores, bruise-dark clouds suggest a far-off storm. In the distance the sounds of children playing, drums beating, and birds chirping convey a peacefulness that is also a deep sigh of relief. For ten months, Timbuktu’s few remaining residents cowered in their houses. Music was banned. When they did venture outside, people hurried silently about their business, fearful of/ Read on.