Canadians band together after Tehran plane crash

January 15th, 2020

Fifty-seven Canadians lost their lives after an airplane was shot down outside of Tehran last week.

It took the news a couple of days to refine the details of the Tehran plane crash. We now know it was two missiles that took down the Boeing 737 en route to Kyiv. All 176 passengers were killed. Canadians were the second-most represented nationality among the victims after Iranians. Justin Trudeau has said that 138 passengers were connecting to Canada.

It is baffling as to why the airspace was even open to civilian aircraft given the escalated tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

As details of the victims started coming out we learned that they came from six provinces: B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

I was struck by an image of the newlywed couple from Montreal, Siavash Ghafouri-Azar and Sara Mamani. She was in her bridal gown, and they looked so young, so full of hope at their wedding. How could they have known that just a short time later their lives would be snuffed out like a match?

The picture was so much more impactful than the numbers on the screen. It made the victims real. It could have been any one of us in the wrong place at the wrong time. People who had nothing to do with the conflict between the U.S. and Iran. People who just wanted to go home after the holiday season.

On Monday, a Toronto-based business owner and philanthropist named Mohamad Fakih, launched a fundraising campaign for the victims’ families to cover funeral expenses and other unexpected costs. The mayor of Toronto, John Tory, said opening our hearts and our wallets to those in need is “the Canadian thing to do.”

We see it time and time again after disaster strikes in Canada— especially those accompanied by loss of life such as the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, or the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.

We have a reputation, in Canada, that we can be counted on. When Canadians suffer horrible consequences through no fault of their own, we stand up. When we know that there are immediate costs that the broken-hearted in Canada need to come up with that’s when we respond.

I am making a donation in support of the families of the Tehran plane crash victims. I would like to ask my fellow Canadians to contribute if they are in a financial position to do so.

Click the link to go to the fundraiser’s webpage.

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