Sitting in his Toronto-area home, a framed picture of his daughter and granddaughter hanging on the wall behind him, Habib Haghjoo is overcome with grief.
“The numbness is going away and I could feel the pain more,” he said.
Haghjoo’s daughter Sahar, 37, and granddaughter Elsa Jadidi, 8, were killed in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 one year ago.
“Sadly, very, very sadly, and unfortunately, still we are looking for truth and still we know nothing,” he added.
Flight PS752 was shot down by the Iranian army.
Haghjoo’s last exchange with his daughter was just moments earlier.
“Actually, she sent a picture from inside the plane together with Elsa and then she was saying there are some delays. They say technical problems,” he recalled.
She texted him, “still haven’t taken off, so at least 30-minute delay.”
Then, minutes later, “taking off now.”
He replied, “good.”
Within minutes, the plane crashed, killing everyone on board.
“We want the truth, the whole truth, not a part of it,” Haghjoo said.
Before moving to Canada, and working for the YMCA managing a program to support newcomer women, Sahar was a popular English TV host in Iran.
“I try to look at the beautiful part of their life … the way they were in love with humans, they were trying to help everyone,” said Haghjoo, adding, “Sahar loved to help everyone and Elsa was a carbon copy of Sahar.”
In their memory, and in his granddaughter’s name, he is helping to build a school in a small village in Iran. Perhaps next will be a clinic, he said.
“I think that’s the best way to keep their memory alive,” he said.
Last week, Iranian State TV reported the government would give a $150,000 payout to the crash victims’ families.
Haghjoo wants nothing more than justice.
“We are looking for the truth. … Up to now, I’m talking to you, nobody’s answering for it. … Still, we are in the dark and still we don’t have any answers” he said.
Haghjoo expressed gratitude to the federal government for its support in the fight for justice.
“They have done whatever they could and they are standing beside us and they are fighting for us but it is not that easy to get answers from the Iranian regime.”