Before I came to know Ali, an engineer-turned realtor from Iran, the Iranian Canadian community remained a distant and remote ethnic group to me. Ali impressed me with his diligence, humbleness, and his willing to serve a client wholeheartedly and to the best of his ability. In a small gathering in Dec., Ali expressed his discontent with the Iranian government and the country he hailed from, while showing gratitude for what Canada has to offer to Iranian immigrants –peace, stability, and opportunity.
752航班所遭遇的空难让我了解到了更多像阿里这样的伊朗裔加国人士，和许多新移民一样，他们都怀有一个加国梦，立志在加国立足，成就一份事业。他们有着与加国华裔相同的奋斗目标和类似的成长轨迹，既来加后先就攻读学位，为日后专业人士的职业生涯打下基础。航班中有15名毕业于伊朗最高学府，且很多是在加国各大院校埋头苦读的国际留学生，都立志日后成为医生，工程师和企业家。新婚夫妇Siavash Ghafouri-Azar和Sara Mamani刚刚从我曾就读的位于蒙特利尔的肯考迪亚大学获得工程硕士学位。
The tragic crash of flight 752 allowed me to get to know more Iranian Canadians like Ali, who strived to build a better life possible in Canada. I’ve found a connection with them through a shared career path: to engage in academic institutions in Canada first and then to pursue a professional career. Fifteen of the passengers were graduates of the top university in Iran, and many were international students studying in universities across Canada, aspiring to be doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Newlyweds Siavash Ghafouri-Azar and Sara Mamani, had recently completed their master’s degrees in engineering from Concordia University in Montreal – where I graduated.
And it was the discontent towards an oppressive regime and crippled life in the home country that drove them to Canada, a journey resonating well with many immigrants and me from China.
Under a corrupted regime and affected by US sanctions, the middle class in Iran face a high unemployment rate, soaring inflation and plummeted currency, with the costs of living rising rapidly and people losing jobs in droves. Citizens find their disposable income so squeezed that some can’t afford life necessities – from carpets to books to medicine. A woman who needs medication to treat internal bleeding in her brain had to frantically seek help from those who had access to the drug market overseas. No longer being able to afford fresh food, Iranians in the middle class of Tehran neighborhoods have resorted to buying rotten meat and withered vegetables and fruits.
阿里对我说：“我总觉得自己不属于伊朗，而加拿大才是我真正的家。”752航班上的伊朗加国人士也对此深有同感，他们正是带着这种“回家”的心情登上这架被导弹击中的航班的。为了继续他们的加国移民之旅，有些人想立即回到学校，而另一些人则急于与多伦多的家人团聚。”我已在回加国之家的途中，” Forough Khadem医生在飞机起飞后不久发短信给她的朋友。
“I lack a sense of belonging to Iran, but feel more like Canada is my native home,” Ali has said to me. And many Iranian Canadians died in the crash shared his feelings. They were looking forward to returning to Canada to resume their immigrant journey as they boarded the doomed flight. Some were eager to go back to school while others anxious to reunite with their families in Toronto. “I am on my way home to Canada”. Dr. Forough Khadem texted her friend soon after the plane took off.
Their homecoming excitement brings me far too fresh memories of every time I was on a flight back to Canada – the country that I, along with my Iranian counterparts, now call home. Our similar immigrant journey, our shared feelings and experiences as newcomers in Canada, and particularly the feelings of attachment to our adopted country Canada, have allowed me to build a bond with this once distant ethnic community. Recognizing myself in the life of the victims, I feel their loss as devastating as a member of the community of my own.
As I join the Iranian community to mourn their loss, I texted Ali to show my condolences for the loss of his community members – and mine.
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