STANDING ON a shore from which west Africans were once dispatched to the Americas in chains, President George Bush yesterday branded slavery one of history's greatest crimes.
"At this place, liberty and life were stolen and sold," Mr Bush said at a former slave trading station on Goree Island, off Senegal's capital, Dakar.
"One of the largest migrations of history was also one of the greatest crimes of history." He said slavery had corrupted American society and left a legacy yet to be eradicated. About 20 million Africans were enslaved.
Mr Bush's speech at the start of a five-day African trip stopped short of an apology for slavery that some had hoped for, but he said there was no excuse in saying values were different in the slavery era.
He said African slaves had helped awaken the American conscience through their struggle for freedom and that "the very people traded into slavery helped to set America free". But he said the journey toward racial justice in the United States was not over.
"The racial bigotry led by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times," Mr Bush said. …