We want you to know we care for you, your people and the country of Iran.
Those sixteen words, written in slanted handwriting, changed how Parniz Yazdani felt about being an immigrant to Canada.
“All of us, who have always felt like second-class citizens, were immediately acknowledged by the Canadian public, by the politicians, by university professors, university presidents and our fellow citizens, and that was very, very heartwarming,” he said.
Yazdani is the owner of Botte Chai Bar, a Persian tea house in Saskatoon. He has been in the country for decades but said he always felt like an outsider.
“You always feel like you’re on someone else’s land, someone else’s culture,” he said.
The message, and flowers that were also delivered, he said, were a “positive assertion we’re Canadians and we’re being celebrated as Canadians.”
On Jan. 8, 57 Iranian-Canadians died when Iran shot down Ukraine International Flight 752. The flowers and card were condolences from dedicated customers who wanted to express their grief.
Yazdani didn’t know any of those who died but said he still felt their loss through the tightly-linked Iranian-Canadian community.
“The victims on that flight could have been any one of the people that I met here, they could have been one of my acquaintances,” Yazdani said, “so in that sense, it’s not very far from you even if you don’t know somebody.”
Aria Farsi, who works in a hotel in Saskatoon, told Global News he also didn’t know anyone on Flight 752 but knew of some of them through friends or family or social media.
“All those amazing people, they died for nothing. They died in that horrible plane crash for nothing and they could have been here right now,” he said.
Hana Farahanifard arrived in Canada four months ago and began studying at the University of Saskatchewan. She said she’s been received messages of support from professors and classmates.
“I really appreciate their sorrow, their sympathy,” she said.
“I hope no one will see this [type of] disaster again.”
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