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Senegal: Obama gets lessons on Goree

28 June 2013, 12:33

Goree Island - President Barack Obama says he learned some lessons on a visit to Goree Island, where he toured a slave house and gazed out at the Atlantic Ocean through what's known as the Door of No Return. It's the point on this Senegalese island from which Africans were said to have been shipped to the Americas and into slavery.

The son of a Kenyan man, Obama said the tour helped him, and the family members who accompanied him, to "fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade". He was joined by first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, and a niece, Leslie Robinson.

The president said Thursday's trip also reminded him of the importance of standing up for human rights worldwide.

"This is a testament to when we're not vigilant in defence of human rights what can happen," Obama said after the tour. "Obviously, for an African-American, an African-American president, to be able to visit this site, I think, gives me even greater motivation in terms of human rights around the world."

Obama spent about a half-hour touring the salmon-coloured slave house, including seeing small holding rooms that separately held male and female Africans before they were loaded onto ships. He spent about a minute peering through the Door of No Return, and went back for a second long look after his family had a chance to peek out too.

Later, at a state dinner with Senegal's president, Macky Sall, Obama said he and Mrs Obama "will never forget" the visit.

- AP


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