When Obama visits the slave castles in Ghana, what will he see?

In just a few short days President Obama will be arriving in Ghana to mark his first presidential trip to Sub-Saharan Africa.  It is widely known that Mr. Obama has insisted on visiting the slave castles that line the Cape Coast to witness remnants of the horrors from when thousands of African slaves were being sold to Europe and the Americas.

I had the privilege of visiting the largest of these castles, St. George, on my recent trip to Ghana and was overwhelmed by the evidence that remained of human degradation.  Despite the hundreds of years that have passed and the continuous use of caustic cleaning agents, the pungent odor of dead bodies, blood stains and human excreta still remain in many of the rooms. Finger and toe marks still remain on the walls where the slaves struggled for their lives while in chains.

My hope is that when Mr. Obama stares out over the castle walls to the Guinea Sea to reflect on how far humanity has come that he will remember that human slavery has not been completely abolished.  My hope is that he will look at the empty dungeons that once held men and women in chains and see the 246 million children that are still enslaved today.  Mr. Obama does not have to look but a few kilometers away to Lake Volta to witness this slavery first hand.  The children working on this lake may not be wearing chains or kept in dungeons, but they may as well be.  These children, some as young as 4 years old, wake at 3 a.m. to begin their day.  They are fed only one meal and forced to work until dusk.  Some are beaten.  Others are molested.  Most are forced to sleep outside.  None go to school.

The dungeons of St. George castle may be empty, but Lake Volta is still crawling with slaves today.  Mr. Obama, do you see them?


I warmly welcome your feedback.  Please feel free to leave a comment or start a discussion.


2 thoughts on “When Obama visits the slave castles in Ghana, what will he see?”

  1. My heart aches, I mean literally weighs heavy with deep aching when I read about these children. This world’s problems are unbearable. Oh that each one of us would step out to do what you are doing Emily. In my handicapped state, I struggle to get out of bed, and yet my soul yearns to change the world.

  2. Great posts, Emily. One major obstacle to this occurring is that the government of Ghana is Obama’s host. Countries have a long history of censoring and beautifying what a visiting diplomat sees during a visit. It would certainly be ideal if Obama could see it, but most likely this type of issue will be obfuscated by a dozen higher priority political issues, including a military base, trade, general economic development, and, if we’re all lucky, human rights as a whole. To get the attention of President Obama, it might be necessary for the child trafficking issue to come through other channels. Just a thought…

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