The President of the United States and the First Lady in the House of Slaves of Goré, Senegal

Monday, July 15, 2013

It is very striking that those who today appear at the “no return gate” in the House of Slaves are the President and First Lady of the United States. 

The most horrifying offenses committed against human beings are just left to our permanent memory. We now see that black people embody such powerful worldwide symbols like Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years for his dark skin, and the leader of the most powerful country on Earth. 

Those painful memories are left behind but they should always be kept alive to guide our daily behavior. 

In July 1992 I wrote a poem in the Island of Goré, a place declared as World Heritage by UNESCO: 

His last
before lying down 
in the hold. 

His last 
through the narrow 
 at the island 
that land 
of his 
now sailing 
through waves of indifference 
towards unknown shores. 

We still hear 
today those sobs, 
still see 
the last traveller’s glance 
from his land, 
from his home, 
from his shores. 

They were sold 
by weight. 

We must 
pay the debt. 

This is the true debt of our past. It must inspire future paths.