Friend of victims of Iran plane crash: government should provide special immigration assistance

The plane crash is indeed a tragedy, and it is really saddening for the friends and relatives of the victims. We are thankful to have had an interview with Mr. Ali Naseri, who is a student from the University of Toronto and he kindly shared his feelings on the loss of his close friends. He also gives us advice on how we can reach out to those who are affected, and the measures that can be made by Canadian government to help with the issue.

Reporter: Thanks for joining this interview. We would like to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to your loss. Would you mind sharing your feelings at this moment?

Ali: Thanks for holding this interview to let me express my experiences and feelings during the past few days, and I need an opportunity to talk about the past few days.
So I am really very sad in general. I lost four close friends in the accident. The issue is many of the passengers on this flight were at my age and were travelling to Canada after the Christmas holidays. Most of them are students, including six from University of Toronto. I think it was about the last Tuesday night, when I heard about the airplane crash, and I became very very sad because of this disaster, because it was like every human will get sad about this type of incident. It didn’t matter what type of accident it was; these accidents would make everybody hearing it be sad. This accident made me very sad because it happened in my country Iran, and right here it was an Ukrainian Airline flight, and I became very stressful, because most of my friends use this airline for travelling to Iran. The day after the list of the passengers became public, and I found the names of my friends on the list, I was very saddened about that. During the past few days, the images and the voices of my friends have been repeating and repeating in my mind, and I couldn’t stop it… and there were so many doctors…. Doctors and engineers, people with PhDs, were on this plane, and in my mind many of them would become our future leaders in different aspects. This tragedy is a huge loss to Canada and the international communities, I think.

Reporter: Thanks for the sharing. This is really a great loss, in the sense of lives, as well as their possible contributions to our communities.

Ali: Thanks for your greetings. I appreciate for your sympathy.

Reporter: Not at all. Could you share what we could do, perhaps on behalf of Canadian citizens, or media, as a way to support?

Ali: Ok sure. Honestly during the past few days, like I am talking about my experience as a student at the University of Toronto, and the communities around me are communities of U of T, and different communities…  communities of Christian people, and like communities of Ukrainians, and communities of Hong Kongers, these different communities are all campus wide… during these few days, these communities were reaching out to express their condolences. For myself, I received a lot of sympathy from my colleagues and friends, which is a great help to hold off from this hard time, and we, including myself and everyone who is affected by this tragedy, are trying to heal our wounds until last night, when it was officially confirmed that the airplane was unintentionally shot down, it caused a second tragedy for us which is very very difficult to believe, and I have to mention that I am truly very sorry for the victims of this accident. Hearing this news must be very very irritating, like me, myself and my friends are holding such a burden on this, such as sadness and sorrow, and we could imagine how difficult it would be to hear this. But I could suggest, as a friend of the affected, as if you hear about anyone affected around you, by this accident, try to talk to them. Try to make conversation with them to just let them know that they are not alone in this difficult time, I mean, right now this kind of tragedy may be a kind of hard topic, but after warm greeting for one or two, it can get them away from hard times, like for example like me, I would appreciate people who are keeping these in mind. Maybe in the next coming months, for a couple of times, during the week, they can just stop by their colleagues and friends, and talk to them and chat with them, to ask about their feelings, and this will help to have a better mental calm for this issue. 

Reporter: Okay Thank You. We can try to talk to them, communicate with them to express our support and care to them for their feelings.

Ali: That’s Great.

Reporter: Besides this, what would you like the Canadian Government, or the other officials, to do to help with the incident?

Ali: Sure. The government of Canada, especially the prime minister, Mr. Justin Trudeau himself, had done a very great job in solving out the details of the accident, and he even did a great job in pushing for an investigation for the cause of the shooting and the details of this matter, however, as you might know, there is no political relations between Iran and Canada right now, and then because of this, many Iranian Canadians, permanent residents, and even the international students are suffering, and in this emergency case, many people have to travel back and forth between Iran and Canada, and are facing a lot of difficulties. Some individuals, who are required to renew their PR cards or student permits, are unable to come back to Canada. What I ask is the Canadian government to offer special immigration assistance, to those who are affected by this tragedy, to help them to get to their families, as easy as possible, so that they can be at ease in dealing with the documents etc. related to this accident.

Reporter: Thank You very much for your sharing, and we hope you can recover from this tragedy soon. All the best!

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Judy Chan

Metta World Peace