Famous Senegalese island Goree to rename its Europe Square in nod to George Floyd

Nii Ntreh Jul 8, 2020 at 10:00am

July 08, 2020 at 10:00 am | News

Nii Ntreh

Nii Ntreh | Associate Editor

July 08, 2020 at 10:00 am | News

Fishermen are pictured in front of Goree Island off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, July 7, 2019. Goree island was one of the trans-Atlantic slave-trade gathering points from where slaves were shipped west in the 1700s and 1800s, and today is a UNESCO world heritage site. Photo Credit: Zohra Bensemra

What was known as Europe Square at Senegal‘s Goree Island will now be called the Freedom and Human Dignity Square, according to the island’s tourism commission.

The name change was inspired by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota in May this year. The tourism commission’s head, Doudou Dia called Floyd death, “the final straw”.

Dia reportedly said, “The name Europe Square was, in a way, a symbol of friendship between peoples. But (Floyd was killed) we also said to ourselves…that in another sense it is celebrating the persecutor.”

This decision comes as countries all over the world reconsider age-old symbols, traditions and names in light of the impact made by Black Lives Matter protests.

Senegal came under French colonization in the mid-18th century. But the island of Goree used to be an outpost for trade and transit of slaves captured on the mainland and other parts of West Africa.

In 1978, Goree was named a World Heritage site by the United Nations. It is now popular with many people around the world as a tourist site with attractions such as the House of Slaves.

Historic changes effected by Black Lives Matter protests

In the wake of global anti-racism protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the U.S., monuments connected to slavery and colonialism have become the target of Black Lives Matter protesters across the world.

In the U.S., statues of Confederate leaders and the explorer Christopher Columbus have been torn down, with similar incidents taking place in the UK and Belgium where controversial monuments are being toppled.

Several Caribbean nations have also joined calls to remove statues of colonial-era figures from public spaces. In Barbados, citizens are demanding the toppling of the statue of British naval commander and slavery sympathizer Horatio Nelson while those in the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago want that of Italian explorer Columbus removed.

Most viewed

Conversations

Must Read