It was an emotional and meaningful moment for Elnaz Alikarami as her fellow students at the University of Lethbridge stood in support to honour the victims of the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752.
“I felt that. I felt deeply — taking the perspective of what we’ve been through and who we lost — the honour of humanity,” Alikarami said.
The University of Lethbridge observed a moment of silence, joining Universities Canada and universities from across the country to honour all of the victims and people touched by the tragedy.
“Being around people — feeling the condolences and feeling the connection — that helps to understand what you’re feeling, and it makes it much better to take it, and feel that you’re not alone. You have friends and sort of family here that feel your pain,” added Alikarami.
Majid Mohajerani, a professor at the university said he lost close family friends and their children in the crash, “It could have been me on that flight with my own family, and I see myself there. These were the people that were excellent, they were the top of the people that I know,” he said.
“It’s been very difficult for the community to see all these bright minds, intelligent people, to perish in a second.”
Mike Mahon, President and Vice-Chancellor at the U of L, said it was important the university came together for the academic community and the Iranian community in Lethbridge.
“We are a community, and so during really difficult times it’s important for communities to come together and to mourn but also to support,” said Mahon.
More than 30 students at the U of L are from Iran, plus additional staff and professors, many of whom have personal connections to the victims.
Alikarami said she lost former students she taught while she was a teacher in Iran, as well as former coworkers and friends.
She said the moment of silence gave her a place to feel supported and understood, “It just feels like you’re close to people and you have people just beside you, you don’t need to call your friends across the country,
“You can find people to ease your pain here.”