All eyes were fixed on Iran Tuesday night to see if retaliation for the killing of one its top generals by the United States would provoke an all-out war in the Middle East.
Instead of war came news that a Boeing 737 had crashed four minutes after takeoff in Tehran, the Iranian capital. All 176 passengers and crew aboard the Ukraine International Airlines flight died in the crash.
On Wednesday, we learned that 63 of the dead were Canadian citizens and another 75 passengers were also bound for Canada, many of them to attend Canadian schools. The dead included at least 13 B.C. residents.
The North Shore, home to the country’s largest Persian community, was hit hard.
Among the dead listed in early reports are North Vancouver doctors Naser Pourshabanoshibi, 53, and Firouzeh Madani, 54. They are survived by their 19-year-old daughter Kimia, who immigrated to Canada with her parents in 2013.
Another North Vancouver couple, engineer Daniel Saket and dental hygienist Faye Kazerani, were in their early thirties. They were said to have “a zest for life that lit up every room they entered.”
A North Vancouver mother, Ayeshe Pourghaderi, 36, and her daughter Fatemeh Pasavand, 17, are survived by husband and father Amir Pasavand, who owns Amir Bakery on Lonsdale Avenue.
North Shore resident Delaram Dadashnejad, 26, was an international student attending Langara College. She was flying home after visiting family in Tehran. Langara’s team of counsellors is helping students deal with the loss of this beautiful young woman.
While memorials and vigils were being arranged across the country and families mourned, speculation was rife about the cause of the crash, some of it in the belligerent tone that seemed to ape the plebeian gangster in the White House.
In that regard, it was a tonic to hear the measured and compassionate response of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
To our Persian neighbours, we offer our sincerest condolences.