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Video: Calgary gas-and-dash victim described as ‘mom who sacrificed her life’ at Mother’s Day service

global

 

Watchnowmay2017

 

Watch on CCISTv: https://youtu.be/VZMC4CJkq_0

WATCH: A tearful memorial service was held on Sunday for a Calgary woman killed in a fatal gas-and-dash two years ago. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, Maryam Rashidi’s mother expressed her grief while friends are demanding workplace changes.

Dozens of mourners gathered at Rocky View Garden of Peace cemetery on Sunday morning to celebrate the life of Maryam Rashidi.

Rashidi was killed in June of 2015 when she tried to stop a man from driving away from the Centex gas station she was working at without paying for fuel.

“I know there was conversation about, yeah she should not have done that. But this is nonsense,” said Fariborz Birjandian, CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, who spoke at the service.

“At that time, she felt something wrong was happening and she was trying to correct it.”

Friends called Rashidi a brave and intelligent woman. She is being remembered as a mother and engineer, who took a job at a gas station to support her family.

“A mom who was trying to put food on the table. A mom who was trying to right a wrong. A mom who sacrificed her life for the well-being of her kid,” said memorial organizer, Ehsan Hosseini.

Memorial organizers want to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. They’re asking for a provincial pay-before-you-pump law, and for employers to promote better safety through training.

“We can correct it for the newcomers in the future that they know their rights. They should know their rights,”  said family friend, Gina Masnadi.

“We can correct it with law and legislation about the gas stations, that people should get trained and know their rights.

“One of the things is remembering Maryam as a friend and as a brave lady. And also giving this message to the community that we should be supporting each other,” said Masnadi.

Those at the service want to know what has changed in Alberta since Rashidi died two years ago. After her death, the provincial government said it would look into pay at the pump legislation.

“We are still in mourning. We still feel that she really died for no reason. And we are hoping that should be prevented,” said Birjandian,

On May 5, Joshua Mitchell was acquitted of second degree murder in connection with Rashidi’s death. Instead, a jury found him guilty of manslaughter. A decision that isn’t sitting well with people who knew Rashidi.

“There has been some uneasiness about that decision that they feel that the punishment that this man is going to face does not really fit the crime that he committed. But at the same time, we have our faith in Canadian justice and I would urge everybody to do that,” said Birjandian.

Members of Calgary’s Iranian community are now making arrangements for Rashidi’s mother to travel to Calgary from Iran for Mitchell’s sentencing in August, and to finally see her daughter’s grave.

“She’s devastated. I was hoping that after two years she would be better and more settled, but unfortunately she is not,” Masnadi said of Rashidi’s mother.

 

Source: http://globalnews.ca/news/3450719/calgary-gas-and-dash-victim-described-as-mom-who-sacrificed-her-life-at-mothers-day-service/

 

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Calgary gas-and-dash victim described as ‘mom who sacrificed her life’ at Mother’s Day service

edmonton

gas

Carolyn Kurydecastillo

May 14, 2017 04:26 pm
 

Dozens of mourners gathered at Rocky View Garden of Peace cemetery on Sunday morning to celebrate the life of Maryam Rashidi.

Rashidi was killed in June of 2015 when she tried to stop a man from driving away from the Centex gas station she was working at without paying for fuel.

“I know there was conversation about, yeah she should not have done that. But this is nonsense,” said Fabiborz Birjandian, CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, who spoke at the service.

“At that time, she felt something wrong was happening and she was trying to correct it.”

Friends called Rashidi a brave and intelligent woman. She is being remembered as a mother and engineer, who took a job at a gas station to support her family.

“A mom who was trying to put food on the table. A mom who was trying to right a wrong. A mom who sacrificed her life for the well-being of her kid,” said memorial organizer, Ehsan Hosseini.

Memorial organizers want to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. They’re asking for a provincial pay-before-you-pump law, and for employers to promote better safety through training.

“We can correct it for the newcomers in the future that they know their rights. They should know their rights,”  said family friend, Gina Masnadi.

“We can correct it with law and legislation about the gas stations, that people should get trained and know their rights.

“One of the things is remembering Maryam as a friend and as a brave lady. And also giving this message to the community that we should be supporting each other,” said Masnadi.

Those at the service want to know what has changed in Alberta since Rashidi died two years ago. After her death, the provincial government said it would look into pay at the pump legislation.

“We are still in mourning. We still feel that she really died for no reason. And we are hoping that should be prevented,” said Birjandian,

On May 5, Joshua Mitchell was acquitted of second degree murder in connection with Rashidi’s death. Instead, a jury found him guilty of manslaughter. A decision that isn’t sitting well with people who knew Rashidi.

“There has been some uneasiness about that decision that they feel that the punishment that this man is going to face does not really fit the crime that he committed. But at the same time, we have our faith in Canadian justice and I would urge everybody to do that,” said Birjandian.

Members of Calgary’s Iranian community are now making arrangements for Rashidi’s mother to travel to Calgary from Iran for Mitchell’s sentencing in August, and to finally see her daughter’s grave.

“She’s devastated. I was hoping that after two years she would be better and more settled, but unfortunately she is not,” Masnadi said of Rashidi’s mother.

Rashidi’s mother spoke to mourners at the graveside service from her home in Iran on Sunday. Despite her grief, she is finding some solace from the outpouring of support from the Calgary community, and knowing her daughter’s organs are now giving hope to six other families.

“She, by dying, she tried to prevent something that was wrong. But when she passed away she was killed, she actually saved six other lives,” said Birjandian.

Source: http://www.630ched.com/syn/98/227492/calgary-gas-and-dash-victim-described-as-mom-who-sacrificed-her-life-at-mothers-day-service

 

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Calgary to welcome 200 Yazidi refugees by end of year

Calgary to welcome 200 Yazidi refugees by end of year

cbccalgary

U.N. report says ISIS seeking to destroy small religious minority community

CBC News Posted: Mar 22, 2017 1:02 PM MT Last Updated: Mar 22, 2017 1:06 PM MT

Dozens of Yazidi refugees are starting to settle into life in Calgary. 

They're among a larger community of about 1,200 the federal government has promised to resettle over the course of this year.

Fariborz Birjandian, with the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, is helping the newcomers adjust. 

So far, 48 Yazidi refugees have arrived in Calgary, including one family of seven consisting of two sisters and their children. 

"The men, the members of their family, they are missing," said Birjandian. "Obviously, they have both been killed. Obviously, that is quite significant."

Persecuted minority

The Yazidis are a religious minority with a 6,000-year-old culture based mainly in northern Iraq. ISIS launched brutal attacks targeting the Yazidi community in August 2014.

Last June, a United Nations report said ISIS was seeking to destroy the community of 400,000 people through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.

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The refugees' arrival in Canada has been tightly controlled and kept largely under wraps — unlike the very public airport arrivals of some of the first Syrian refugees more than a year ago.

In January, Dawn Edlund, associate assistant deputy minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, said the government is carefully avoiding language that could lead to revictimization, and avoiding releasing any details publically that could put other relatives still in captivity at risk.

Resilient families

Back in Calgary, Birjandian says each of the families have managed to settle as best they can.

"They have a lot of question, a lot of fears coming to [Canada] but definitely they are really appreciative and they are very positive, actually. I'm very impressed with their resilience."

Birjandian said Calgary is one of four settlement locations in Canada, and the families are living close together because the Yazidi community is so small. 

Calgary will accept about 200 Yazidi refugees this year.

 

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/yazidi-refugees-calgary-1.4036377

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Agencies push back against Coulter's attacks on Calgary's Syrian refugees

Agencies push back against Coulter's attacks on Calgary's Syrian refugees

calgaryhearld

Published on: March 22, 2017 | Last Updated: March 22, 2017 6:13 AM MDT

 

Comments from a notorious American political commentator that Syrian refugees are ballooning Calgary’s poverty rate were deflated by local social workers.

In response to a Postmedia story published Monday on a drive to collect clothing and halal food for the city’s needy Muslims, Ann Coulter on Tuesday tweeted “Keep it up Calgary and we may not be able to make you our 51st state,” possibly mistaking the city for a province or country.

She goes on to say “massive jump in poverty as “underprivileged” “refugees” pour in.”

It’s an assessment divorced from reality, said Karen Young, president of the Calgary United Way.

“In 2012, there was back then a poverty rate of 10 per cent, and it’s about 10 per cent now, or 120,000 people,” said Young.

The influx of about 3,000 Mideast, mostly Syrian, refugees began in late 2015.

In the Monday news story, the Muslim Families Network Society, which organized the drive, said the number of Muslims in the city doubled since the latest refugee crisis began.

Young said she’d rather not address any comments made by Coulter, but added “we really believe in the value of fairness, inclusion and diversity.”

The numbers of those refugees aren’t significant enough to considerably affect the city’s poverty rate, said Fariborz Birjandian, CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society which has overseen the refugee influx.

“They’re looking for an excuse to move an agenda,” he said of Coulter.

Most of the Mideast refugees are privately-sponsored and among those, 40% are now working a, figure he says “is quite good.”

Government-sponsored refugees tend to be less educated and about 10% of them have jobs, said Birjandian, who fled religious persecution in Iran 30 years ago.

“The reality is, it’s a struggle, but we should make sure they succeed,” he said.

He said one study shows that within 20 years, the rate of home ownership among one-time refugees is on par with those born in Canada while in Calgary, it’s 10% higher.

“On a settlement level, they’re doing quite well, they have kids in school learning, who’ll start working,” said Birjandian.

BKaufmann [AT] postmedia [DOT] com

Source: http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/city-pushes-back-right-wing-commentator-ann-coulters-attacks-on-calgarys-syrian-refugees

 

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Fortney: 'The Girl in the Photo' speaks out for refugees, war's innocent victims

Fortney: 'The Girl in the Photo' speaks out for refugees, war's innocent victims

calgaryhearld

Published on: March 21, 2017 | Last Updated: March 21, 2017 7:54 AM MDT

 

For much of the past 25 years she’s called Canada home, Kim Phuc has become accustomed to being stopped by strangers on the street. “They recognize me everywhere,” she said with a shy laugh. “When they say, ‘your story touched my life,’ that’s OK.”

The 53-year-old mother of two is, understandably, a reluctant celebrity, but one at peace with her unique sort of fame and the opportunities it provides. “The picture is a powerful gift for me,” she said, “to work for peace.”

The picture she refers to is the antithesis of peace. On June 8, 1972, Associate Press news photographer Huynh Cong “Nick” Ut snapped a photograph of a then nine-year-old naked Phuc running from her village just after a napalm bomb attack, which evaporated her clothing and burned 30 per cent of her body.

Ut’s photograph won him a Pulitzer Prize and became an enduring symbol of the horrors of war, especially the suffering of innocents caught in its crossfire.  

On Monday, Phuc was in town as the keynote speaker for the closing event of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society’s 35th anniversary celebrations. For Fariborz Birjandian, having Phuc as the organization’s invited guest has its own symbolism.

“The agency started 35 years ago because of the influx of Vietnamese refugees,” says Birjandian, the CEO of CCIS, which to date has sponsored more than 6,500 refugees arriving in Calgary.

Birjandian, who came to Canada as an Iranian refugee more than 35 years ago, said he has another deeply personal reason for being thrilled to host Phuc’s visit.

“Kim has been an inspiration to all of us,” he said. “She is one of my heroes.”

kimf

Indeed, Phuc’s incredible story of her life after Ut snapped that iconic photograph is ripe with inspiration.

“I kept crying out, ‘too hot, too hot,’” she says of the attack’s immediate aftermath. “Every time I look at that picture I can see how hopeless I was … I can smell the fire, the smoke around me.”

Thanks largely to the insistence of Ut, who transported her to hospital in his media van, doctors treated the badly burned child. A few short years later, the new communist regime halted her dreams of medical school when they began using her fame for propaganda purposes. Later, though, she was given permission to study in Cuba, where she met her husband, Bui Huy Toan.

They married in 1992, honeymooning in Moscow. On a refuelling stop in Gander, Newfoundland en route to Cuba, the newlyweds defected.

“We had nothing but we had freedom and we had each other,” says Phuc of her joy of being a penniless refugee in Canada. “So we had everything.”

Through her Kim Phuc Foundation International (kimfoundation.com), Phuc has continued her mission to help others with programs and services for child victims of war. She also travels extensively, speaking to audiences on such topics as forgiveness, life as a child of war and an adult refugee. At many of those talks she’s been joined by her photographer friend Ut, who is retiring from the Associated Press after a stellar 51-year career.

“When I became a mother, I held my child,” she said of her decision to use her fame to help others. “And I thought, ‘how could I let my child suffer like that girl.'” In fact, it’s when asked about the most recent iconic photograph of the children victims of war that Phuc’s stoic exterior crumbles.

“When I saw that picture, I just burst into crying,” she said of the 2015 photograph of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s body on a beach in Turkey. The photo reflected both the child victims of war and the plight of Syrian refugees. “My picture is similar, but I am still alive … I am a living miracle, I can give hope to the people.”  

kimp

For her Monday talk in Calgary, Phuc said she hoped to provide both practical tips for the many new Canadians in the audience — “learn English, learn the culture” — as well as inspirational lessons.

“Never give up, always reach out for help,” said the amazing woman who will mark 45 years this June since she became the human symbol of war’s horrors. “This is one of the greatest countries in the world to live.”

vfortney [AT] postmedia [DOT] com

Twitter.com/valfortney

 

Source: http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/fortney-the-girl-in-the-photo-speaks-out-for-refugees-wars-innocent-victims

 

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