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Friday, June 28, 2013

Fake History for a Fake President

I notice that there are some press reports questioning the validity of the site chosen by the President to give an anti-slavery speech in Senegal. This is not a new issue. The role of the "Slave House" on Goree Island in Senegal is a source of perennial debate. It seems almost certain that the "Door of No Return" where Obama has several pictures taken was not as advertised. It was not the doorway through which millions of Africans boarded waiting slave ships on their horrid one-way trip to the Americas.

I visited Goree Island in 1987 during the one hundred year celebration of Dakar as a separate city. At the time I was working for Maureen Reagan, and she led the US delegation to the centennial celebrations. It was a fun trip and the Senegalese could not have been more hospitable and kind to the US delegation. Ms. Reagan decided we should visit Goree Island and pay our respects at the Slave House museum. It is a well-kept and interesting place, and highly recommended. She asked a couple of us to do some research on the place for comments she might make. We quickly found, even in pre-internet 1987, that the place was not the transit point for America-bound slaves. By simply standing at the "Door of No Return," one quickly realizes that no ship or boat could pull up anywhere near that door without getting smashed by the waves on the rocks below (you can see those rocks in the Obama pictures).  The slaves were loaded elsewhere on Goree Island and along the coast. At times, however, being a bit PC is the better part of valor when making a speech in a hospitable foreign country, and Maureen decided to go along with the story given by our hosts and not the breathless research done by a couple of her Young Turks.

Mr. Obama, of course, is not a descendent of those miserable slaves, many of whom died horrible deaths in their way across the Middle Passage. His ancestors on both his white mother's side and his Kenyan father's side were apparently slave owners and traders. The great ignored story still remains the complicity of Africans and Arabs in the slave trade.


  1. Of course, the Obama family traded up the East coast of Africa, into the Muslim empire. The slaves that the Dunhams bought did come from West Africa, or, more often from Brazil and the West Indies. In any event, the rulers of the West African states were really pissed off about the US abolishing the slave trade, and about American naval vessels, in alliance with our British cousins, patrolling the African coast, interdicting slavers. Ah, well. Truth is what the Party says it is.

  2. Leaving aside Diplomad Sir, your ending paragraph,

    ...At the time I was working for Maureen Reagan ...

    Might that not be better described replacing "with" rather than "for?"

    Seven degrees and all that ...

    And aside from any of the above - weren't we given to understand last week in Ulster, O'bama was there partly to "re-connect" with his Irish roots?


  3. " His descendants on both his white mother's side and his Kenyan father's side were apparently slave owners and traders."

    I think you meant to say "His {Obama's} ancestors, mot descendants.

    1. AAArgh! You're right! My bad. Long day.

    2. " His descendants on both his white mother's side and his Kenyan father's side were apparently slave owners and traders." Maybe he is heading back in that direction.

  4. East Texas RancherJune 29, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Add this no nothing with preaching same-sex marriage to a Muslim crowd and you can see the vacuousness of this Emperor with no clothes.
    Each day it gets worse, then I do my ranch chores and I am reminded like the sun rising and setting that my God is over all and I am grateful. But, that knowledge intensifies my prayers, it doesn't diminish my faith that God is in control.
    My old rancher Dad said that God does not suffer fools. I think that is right and I reckon the WH fool will butt up against some measure of merited punishment. He believes his own press and heeds not the ways of the wise and our enemies are chuckling.
    May God hold this nation and its fighting men and women close while we watch the perfidy of dishonest leader.

  5. And what would have happened to those people in the distant past before the concept of slavery was thought of, captives of inter-tribal conflicts and tribal misfits, and such? I think the best guess is that such superfluous people were killed and eaten. And not only in Africa. Slavery was an improvement over being killed or starving. Even in the middle ages, in numerous areas of Europe and Asia, and probably Africa too, people were known to sell themselves and their families into slavery when unable to sustain themselves.


    1. Ah Orik, aun padeciendo las consecuencias de la noche anterior, no recuerda lo conversado con Ana. Temeroso de haberle confesado quién es realmente, intenta sonsacarle qué fue lo que hablaron. Ella se muestra ambigua y le hace creer que le dijo todo, lo que aumenta su preocupación. Mientras tanto, Mica, muy angustiada, entiende finalmente que fue engañada por José Luna y se pone en contacto con Ana para volver a trabajar en el supermercado.

      Por su parte Víctor se siente acorralado por Busaniche, quien ve en él al principal sospenchoso del robo.

    2. Eso sin duda lo aclara para mí! Usted es un pájaro raro, ¿dónde vuelas desde?

    3. 满有意思。 可是,为了别的读者,请提供翻译的文件吧! 虽然本人开始学西班牙语。我的了解得并不多。

    4. Kepha: My Spanish is a little clunky, but I know B.S. in espanola when I see it. If you haven't translated him essentially he's some nut case troll or bot.

    5. James: What I wrote was "Very interesting. But, for other readers, please provide a translated document. Although I have started to learn Spanish, I don't understand it very well."

  6. Posts like this one that tell the "dirty boots" story of real places in the real world are the reason I visit here. Thank you, Mr. Diplomad.


  7. Why would it surprise anyone that Senegal would be making money from a false story? Hell, Jesse Jackson has been doing that for decades. But don't blame the Senegalese. We have our own version of slavery right here in the U.S. Only we wiped out a lot of the truth like:

    The first American "slave" was not a black man. The first recorded slave, permitted by a judicial judgment, was a white man owned by a black man.

    There were a number of slave ship captains who sailed out of Boston Harbor that were, themselves, black

    Most of the African slaves brought to the U.S. were not captured by slave ship crews. Instead, the crews sat in port as one African tribe warred on another and brought the captives to be sold to the slave ships. Actually, the interior was too dangerous, due to warring tribes, for slave ship crews to conduct raids for captives. Blacks selling blacks, so to speak. One tribe selling captives from other tribes.

    One of the largest slave owners in ante-bellum Louisiana was the owner of Melrose Plantation, herself a child of a former slave and a Frenchman (the Louisianans like to refer them to "creole" instead of 1/2 black)

    You won't find those facts in any history book in inner-city Chicago or any other major urban area. Can't have kids saying "Hey, we sold our own and owned our own" now, can we?

    Not to mention the blood thirsty crimes of the Buffalo Soldiers.


  8. @Michael Adams--good post. We might also note that the O's East African Muslim slave traders may also have managed the gelding of their young male captives to serve in the harems of wealthy Middle Easterners.

    I have an observation about white guilt over slavery.

    For people like Uncle Kepha's kin, it's a kind of perverse social climbing. For a lot of us offspring of the Great Atlantic Migration, feeling guilty over slavery allows us to feel that we are the peers of the Southern Tidewater aristocracy or the slave ship-owning ancestors of Boston Brahims.