The cancelling of Timbuktu's music festival this weekend is significant. In the past couple of weeks I've been getting emails about music making a return - something Mali has been desperately waiting for. I heard through my friend and colleague Andy Morgan that Manny Ansar, the director of The Festival in the Desert, possibly the most remote and awesome of all the festivals, seemed hopeful of bringing it back to Mali.
As a subject, conflict has always drawn filmmakers, whether driven by political or social ideals, or inspired by more humanitarian concerns.
There were suggestions that as many as 25,000 manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu had been burned, and even that the building itself had been torched. When the dust cleared the damage, though serious, turned out not to be as dire as feared.
I swore blind to myself a couple of weeks ago that I'd never publish another word on Bamiyan. I fear deeply for the future of that beautiful valley and its long-suffering people, but I felt I'd reached a point of just repeating myself. One thing Bamiyan should never be is boring.
In reality, what is happening in Timbuktu is one group within the broad spectrum of Islam violently imposing its blinkered ideology on another tradition in Islam with which it disagrees.
A British couple have fled Timbuktu with the help of African soldiers and nomadic militiamen after the Malian city fell to