The guitar stood on a stand in a small conference room in corporate offices in Beverly Hills. A black Fender Stratocaster with a white body plate, a few nicks to its side -- it looked simple, basic, uncomplicated.
My first trip to Timbuktu occurred in 2003, long before this current conflict. I arrived in Timbuktu and the air emitted a certain respect for history. The architectural structure reminded me that I was in the midst of a city of knowledge that had existed for hundreds of years.