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
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.