Herbert’s address to the nation after May 9th

Herbert MensahI attended a special inter faith service on the forecourt of the state House. The service was organised by the Government to honour and remember the dead. The event was both poignant and emotional for me and when I had to give a brief speech I could hardly contain my feelings!

A brief summary of my speech is outlined as follows;

“I am truly humbled to be here today. In making this short speech I would like to start by quoting Ecclesiastics 9 verse17.

“No one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like a fish caught in a cruel net or birds caught in a trap, so are humans caught at a time of calamity when it suddenly falls upon them. [Ecclesiastics 9 verse17]

“This is not a personal tragedy for Hearts or Kotoko: it is a national disaster for all of us. That is why the nation mourns and that is why the global football community is grieving and that is why we as indi¬viduals can only weep more loudly.

“The death of 126 young men, women and children in circumstances, which could and should have been avoided, is particularly personal and painful for me and for all the country. It is an unimagined tragedy, unsurpassed at the international level. The trauma of haying to save the dead from the crush will haunt me forever. I still wake in the morning haunted by the events of that fateful Wednesday night. I carried over twenty bodies and never for one moment considered whether they were Kotoko supporters or Hearts supporters. I only knew them to be Ghanaian football supporters who may well be alive. I knew I had to try my best to save them. We all did what we could in our own way on that fateful night. Sadly it was not enough! But that does not diminish the tragedy. Lessons will have to be learnt to prevent such a dreadful event from ever happening again.

“Our thoughts are particularly with the families and friends. Those young men, women and children, Hearts and Kotoko supporters alike, are in our hearts and in our minds. Just as we do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother’s womb, so we do not know the work of God who makes everything and takes everything away.

“The 126 young people are gone, but they will never be forgotten!!”

A short excerpt of the speech can be viewed here.

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