At a Sunday afternoon memorial in downtown Montreal, the grief is still evident more than a week since missiles brought down Ukraine International Airlines flight 75 over Tehran, killing a 176 passengers and crew.
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s painful. It’s tragic,” event co-organizer Raziyeh Razavipour said, standing in front of a table of photographs of some of the victims.
She was among members of the city’s Iranian community, as well as friends of the Canadians and other Canadian residents who perished, who gathered at the Symposia Théâtre to honour the victims one more time.
“We are here to show to their families that they are not alone,” explained Zahra Zare.
At least six of the victims were Quebecers. They include former Concordia University students Siavash Ghafouri-Azar and Sara Mamani, a couple who were in Iran for their wedding. There was also Arvin Morattab and Aida Farzaneh from Montreal. The couple had studied at École de technologie supérieure. Morattab’s twin brother Armin said it’s been hard.
“It’s a mix of sorrow, sadness and anger and rage,” he told Global News. “We are dealing with all these feeling now.”
Those attending Sunday’s memorial say the tragedy has been emotionally wrenching for the community, even for those who were born in Canada.
“A day after it happened,” Razavipour recalled, “my son called me. He was crying so much like he lost his father. And he was born here.”
The plane was brought down just hours after Iran launched missiles against two bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops. That attack followed the targeted killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. airstrike. Days after denying that the Ukranian airliner was shot down, the Iranian government admitted to unintentionally doing so.
“It makes it worse for all of us to realize that the government was responsible for this,” noted Razavipour.
Now Morattab’s family is demanding a full investigation.
“It’s not acceptable,” fumed Morattab, “and a lot of people – they’re now full of questions and they would like to follow up.”
His family is calling on the Canadian government to push for answers because they say they don’t trust the Iranian government.
At the ceremony, attendees said they are overwhelmed at the support coming from the broader Montreal community. Razavipour pointed out it’s important to stand together with all Canadians to make sure this tragedy isn’t forgotten