Abderrahmane Sissako's Film "Timbuktu" Complicates the Jihadist Narrative

"Timbuktu", a new film from acclaimed Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako who has won a string of international awards, is nominated for a foreign-language Oscar, and is a firm favorite to take the best film award at FESPACO.

Abderrahmane Sissako's "Timbuktu" begins with a scene of a truck of armed jihadists chasing a gazelle. One screams to the other, "Don’t kill it. Tire it out." It’s a fitting metaphor for the occupation of northern Mali. For, it represents the gradual, often confounding, regulations and punishments that jihadists enforced in the name of shari'a. It also represents the physical, economic, and emotional exhaustion that so many Timbuktians experienced under the occupation.

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