The large Canadian-Iranian community is determined that an investigation and apology is only the first step.
News that 176 airline passengers – 138 of whom were bound for Canada – lost their lives after an Iranian missile hit Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 continues to dominate newspaper front pages and lead broadcasts across Canada. The victims had made their homes in places like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Halifax. Members of Edmonton’s large, tight-knit Iranian community estimated they had lost 27 people who called the city home – ten of them either students or faculty members at the University of Alberta. Over 50 passengers on the flight were students at Canadian universities. Fifty seven were Canadian citizens. At least three newlywed couples were on board, with one pair having celebrated their wedding with family in Iran only a week before.
Payman Parseyan, a prominent member of Edmonton’s Iranian-Canadian community, spoke to the New Statesman about the day messages started pouring into a Telegram app group of Iranian-Edmontonians with over 1,300 members. “Someone wrote ‘we lost friends on this flight,’” he said, his voice wavering slightly. “I started sending private messages asking ‘who did we lose?’” Soon after, Parseyan found out he knew seven of the passengers.
“It’s a huge tragedy for the entire country, not just the Iranian-Canadian community,” Prime minister Justin Trudeau told reporters. “Families are seeking justice and accountability and they deserve closure.”
In the days immediately after the plane was shot down, shortly after it took off from Tehran en route to Kiev, Trudeau comforted grieving families in Ottawa, spoke at a large Edmonton vigil and gave two major press conferences. “Canada and the world have many questions. Questions that must be answered,” he declared. Yet there was much he didn’t – and perhaps felt he couldn’t – …read more
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