Speaking of green trees - Bush's visit to Senegal

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Sat Jul 19 18:34:16 MDT 2003


I have crossposted this from PEN-L, it was posted by the ever astute Dan
Scanlan:

Here's a report from Senegal on Bush's visit. The report has been
circulating among folk music forums.

------------------------------


Subject: Bush's visit to Senegal

Dearest friends,

As you probably know, this week George Bush is visiting Africa.
Starting with Senegal, he arrived this morning at 7.20 AM and left at
1.30 PM. This visit has been such an ordeal that a petition is being
circulated for this Tuesday July 8th to be named Dependency Day.

Let me share with you what we have been through since last week:

1- Arrests : more than 1,500 persons have been arrested and put in
jail between Thursday and Monday. Hopefully they will be released now
that the Big Man is gone. 2- The US Army's planes flying day and
night over Dakar. The noise they make is so loud that one hardly
sleeps at night. 3- About 700 security people from the US for Bush's
security in Senegal, with their dogs, and their cars. Senegalese
security forces were not allowed to come near the US president. 4-
All trees in places where Bush will pass have been cut. Some of them
have more than 100 years. 5- All roads going down town (where
hospitals, businesses, schools are located) were closed from Monday
night to Tuesday at 3 PM. This means that we could not go to our
offices or schools. Sick people were also obliged to stay at home. 6-
National exams for high schools that started on Monday are postponed
until Wednesday.

Bush's visit to the Goree Island is another story. As you may know
Goree is a small Island facing Dakar where from the 15th to the 19th
century the African slaves to be shipped to America were parked in
special houses called slave houses. One of these houses has become a
Museum to remind humanity about this dark period and has been visited
by kings, queens, presidents. Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, and
before them.

Nelson Mandela, the Pope, and many other distinguished guests or
ordinary tourists visited it without bothering the islanders. But for
"security reasons" this time, the local population was chased out of
their houses from 5 to 12 AM.

They were forced by the American security to leave their houses and
leave everything open, including their wardrobes to be searched by
special dogs brought from the US.

The ferry that links the island to Dakar was stopped and offices and
businesses closed for the day. According to an economist who was
interviewed by a private radio, Senegal, which is a very poor
country, has lost huge amounts of money in this visit, because
workers have been prevented from walking out of their homes.

In addition to us being prevented to go out, other humiliating things
happened also. Not only Bush did not want to be with Senegalese but
he did not want to use our things. He brought his own armchairs, and
of course his own cars, and meals and drinks. He came with his own
journalists and ours were forbidden inside the airport and in places
he was visiting.

Our president was not allowed to make a speech. Only Bush spoke when
he was in Goree. He spoke about slavery. It seems that he needs the
vote of the African American to be elected in the next elections, and
wanted to please them. That's why he visited Goree.

Several protest marches against American politics have been organized
yesterday and even when Bush was here, but we think he does not care.
We have the feeling that everything has been done to convince us that
we are nothing, and that America can behave the way it wants,
everywhere, even in our country.

Believe me friends, it is a terrible feeling. But according to a
Ugandan friend of mine, I should not complain because in Uganda one
of the countries he is going to visit, Bush does not intend to go out
of the airport. He will receive the Ugandan President in the airport
lounge.

Nevertheless, I think I am lucky, because I have such wonderful
American friends. But there are now thousands of Senegalese who
believe that for all Americans the world is their territory.

Love to you all,

Codou








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