It has been a difficult week for many mourning the 57 Canadian victims of a tragic plane crash in Iran. Vigils to remember those lost have been taking place throughout the Maritimes. On Saturday, Dalhousie University held a vigil in memory of those with connections to the school.
At a time of indescribable tragedy, those speaking to the hundreds gathered at the afternoon memorial, used what words they had to remember the lives lived and lost. Amongst those lost was Masoumeh Ghavi, an engineering student at Dalhousie University.
Ghavi was killed on Ukrainian Air flight PS752, alongside her younger sister, Mandieh – who was preparing to study at Dalhousie herself.
“She took her little sister to bring her here, in Canada, in Nova scotia, in Halifax,” said Iranian Cultural Society of Nova Scotia president, Ali Nafarieh, to attendees. “But Masoumeh's flight never reached the destination.”
The children of Halifax dentist Dr. Sharieh Faghihi, who also died in the crash, remembered Faghihi, who graduated from the university and was a part-time instructor. Also present was Faghihi’s sister-in-law, who remembers her as a woman with a beautiful laugh and said she deserved to live a much longer life.
It is now believed there were eight individuals with connections to Nova Scotia aboard flight PS752. Among those deceased were Maryam Malek and Fatemeh Mahmoodi, who were both students in the Master of Finance program at Saint Mary's University.
Additionally, Shekoufeh Choupannejad, an obstetrician-gynecologist who worked in Halifax before moving to Edmonton, also died in the crash with daughters, Sara and Saba Saadat.
The memorial took place just hours after the Iranian government admitted its own military shot the plane down, blaming it on an unfathomable mistake – causing anger, on top of grief, for members of the Iranian Nova Scotian community.
“It's been a really hard pill to swallow for us,” said Dalhousie Iranian Students Society president, Sadra Kord-Jamshidi. “Once again, the Iranian authorities have proven that they're the best at killing the Iranians – we're disgusted.
“Everyone is sad; everyone is angry; people deserve the answer, right?” said Nafarieh. “Iranians, Canadians – all.”
Meanwhile, the community’s search for closure continues as many people come together across the Maritimes and Canada to help ease the pain of the tragic loss. Additionally, representatives of provincial and federal governments say they will be present to help during the grieving process – however long it takes.