EDITORIAL: The day we all learned to say tasliat migam

Two doctors, an engineer, a hygienist, two students, a baker. All of them Iranian by birth. All of them Canadian by choice. And all of them gone.

It will be some time before we have all come to terms with the deaths of Ayeshe Pourghaderi, Fatemeh Pasavand, Naser Pourshabanoshibi, Firouzeh Madani, Delaram Dadashnejad, Daniel Saket and Faye Kazerani – the seven North Vancouver residents confirmed killed in the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 in Tehran.

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The whole country grieves but there is a disproportionate amount of sorrow on the North Shore where two-thirds of all the Iranian immigrants in B.C. live.

Our first impulse whenever a tragedy like this happens is to ask why. There will be investigations. Because so many Canadian lives were lost, our government will have an official role in Iran. U.S. officials will want to have their say too. But there is so little trust between the Iran and U.S. governments right now that any conclusion reached by authorities from either country is unlikely to satisfy those who have lost family members and friends.

In any case, we are helpless to do anything about it. What is in our power to do is embrace those suffering loss, especially the Persian community, which contributes so much to life on the North Shore.

It was a cold night on Wednesday but we were warmed by the candles lit outside Amir Bakery on Lonsdale and by the hundreds of people who came by to pay their respects and help each other through grief.

The Farsi expression to say to a person who has lost a loved one is “tasliat migam.” Let us hold hands and say it together.

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