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Humber mourns victims of Ukrainian Flight PS752 crash

A tearful Farzad Rayegani remembered his colleagues and friends who died in the Ukrainian plane crash, downed by possibly two Iranian missiles.

The senior dean in the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology at Humber College said in the Jan. 16 memorial at North campus’ Barrett Centre that everyone should grieve but build the strength to move on.

“We cannot be angry and in loss forever,” Rayegani said. “We have to come together and grieve but tomorrow is a new day.”

The event organized by Humber College and IGNITE for both North and Lakeshore campuses was in support of families mourning 176 passengers aboard Flight PS752 who died.

Farzad Rayegani, Senior Dean in the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology, is comforted during a memorial for Iran plane crash victims. (Abigael Ruto)

The fatal crash saw 57 Canadians, 82 Iranians, four casualties from Afghanistan and Britain, and three Germans with nine crew members from Ukraine.

Among the 176, there were 138 heading to Canada mostly for the beginning of the school semester.

“Many universities and colleges across Canada lost students and faculty,” Rayegani said. “These are people and students who had hope for the future. We are sad and angry.”

Humber College did not lose anyone, but people at the event shed painful tears because they lost friends and colleagues or knew someone who had lost a loved one, he said.

The University of Alberta lost 10 students and teachers in the crash, including electrical engineering professor Mojgan Daneshmand and his wife and professor of mechanical engineering Pedram Mousavi. Their daughters Daria, 14, and Dorina, 9, were also killed.

“I lost two of my good friends and classmates Mojgan and Pedram, together with their two beautiful daughters,” Rayegani said

He begged for a peaceful future. The crash brought back the memories of a war in Iran he was involved in more than 30 years ago where a similar plane crash occurred.

“When there is conflict, poor people that have nothing to do with it are affected”

– Farzad Rayegani, Faculty of Applied Science and Technology

IGNITE President Monica Khosla expressed her grief and sadness as she addressed the mourners.

Her loss for words limited her to a 40-second speech, stating how the shooting down of the airliner disrupted many lives and tortured families of the victims.

“Humber College has been affected whether directly or indirectly,” Khosla said.

She acknowledged it was a hard event to experience and encouraged anyone going through a difficult time to visit the IGNITE offices and get the support they need.

“Part of being IGNITE is to help you get through the good times and the bad times,” she said. “I will be happy to help anyone through this process.”

As the room remained in a somber mood with a few sobs heard here and there, a moment of silence was observed.

“We should grieve and reflect on the joyful moments we had with our loved ones,” Rayegani said. “We must think forward…and achieve the life our loved ones wanted.”

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