‘We Put Ourselves In Their Shoes’

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Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai has encouraged the French people to take heart following the terrorist attack in Nice last Thursday.

On Thursday, July 14, 2016, as the citizens and people of France enjoyed fireworks and other celebrations on Bastille Day, the country’s national day, a French-Tunisian man, identified by authorities as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, accelerated a lorry into an unsuspecting crowd in the French coastal city of in Nice. At least 84 persons, including 10 children, died in the carnage, with nearly 300 wounded, some very seriously and in critical condition.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer after signing the Book of Condolence opened by the French Embassy near Monrovia in memory of those who died, the VP stated he just couldn’t comprehend “the madness that enters people to destroy lives without any justification.”

The Liberian VP, who watched the event unfolded on television, and knowing the French people being who they are, “open and sociable,” said he couldn’t understand that such a horrible event was happening to them.

He stated that he had brought a message of consolation to the French people through their embassy adding that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had earlier spoken and condemned the act against peaceful people.

“We want to console them. We and the French people have a very close relationship; when such a thing happens, we put ourselves in their shoes like it’s happening to us,” he said. “We know that the French people will not give in to limiting their freedom to move around. The French people are courageous.”

While expressing his condolences to the bereaved families, the VP stated that he was happy it didn’t happen during the Euro 2016 tournament when football teams from European nations were in various parts of France taking part in the tournament.

The Vice President led an array of government officials, including Acting Foreign Minister B. Elias Shoniyin; Justice Minister Frederick Cherue; Youth and Sports Minister Saah N’Tow; and others to sign the Book of Condolence. Notable among all the men who signed the Book was National
Investment Commission Chairperson, Madam Etmonia David.

For his part, the French Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Joël Godeau, praised the Liberian Government for the solidarity shown his country since the terrorist attack. He said President Sirleaf was among the first people to send their messages of consolation and condolence to his President, Mr. François Hollande.

“Madam President sent a very warm message to the President of France expressing her sympathy and compassion and denouncing this terrible and awful attack against innocent people,” Ambassador Godeau stated.

He disclosed that at least 84 persons, including 10 children, died and nearly 300 were injured; adding: “A few hundred more are psychologically shocked by what they saw.”

The French Ambassador stressed that no one, including the man who carried out the attack, can make France “give in,” and that the French people will resist every hate, which according to him is the measure for preventing such terrorist attacks.

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