On January 8, 2020, a Ukrainian Airlines passenger aircraft was shot down over Tehran by two missiles launched by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The tragedy, which Iran still insists was the result of "human error", claimed the lives of all 176 people onboard and pitched their families and loved ones into a living nightmare - one they are still living through today.
Among the innocent civilians on Flight 752 were 82 Iranian citizens, 63 Canadians,11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, seven Afghans, three Britons and three Germans. They included doctors, students, athletes, activists and environmentalists: individuals pursuing their own dreams and ambitions both inside and outside Iran, and with bright futures ahead of them.
An international investigation into the incident is underway, spearheaded by Canada, France and Ukraine. But in the meantime, the devastated families of the PS752 passengers are still in limbo. Bereft of either justice or accountability for the disaster that shattered their lives, some of these individuals are now being represented by the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims, which has published a series of heart-rending personal letters and testimonies to honor those who were killed on January 8.
IranWire is supporting the Association's fight for justice by translating these final tributes into English and publishing them on our pages. We hope that through these efforts, the remarkable lives and aspirations of those aboard Flight 752 will not be forgotten.
Nobody is Left of Us
For Shahrokh Eghbali Bazoft, Maryam Agha Miri and Shahzad Eghbali Bazoft, Flight PS752 passengers
Of their family of three, no one is left to tell their stories. To tell of their love, of their dreams, of the wrongs that were done to them. There is no sign left of them.
His name was Shahrokh Eqbali Bazoft. Born on September 28, 1960. In a few months, he would have turned 59. He was kind, honest and trustworthy. The smart and creative child of the family, from his childhood he was in love with inventions and fixing the electrics at home. Whenever something electronic disappeared, all eyes fell on him. With a mischievous smile, he tried to keep his secrets under wraps. Years later, though, after he had left Iran, his secrets were all revealed: in a big bag in a corner of a closet. The bag was full of lost things that had either been tampered with or become unusable. I wish he were here to tell his own story.
Shortly after the revolution, Shahrokh left Iran to study abroad. He went to Oxford, then to Illinois in the United States. He and got a masters degree in electrical engineering with top grades. Then he started working as the manager of an electronics lab at the same university. Later, he moved to Canada, and got a job in programming and IT.
Soon after that Shahrokh came back to Iran to marry. It was fourteen years ago that he found Maryam. According to him, it was the light in Maryam’s face that had drawn him to her. I wish they were here to tell, in their own words, of their first meeting; a meeting that had would prove be a turning point in both of their lives.
Maryam Aghamiri. Born on February 12, 1973. She had lost both her parents when she was a child. This cold void in her life was warmed up by her siblings, especially by a sister that had become like a mom to her. Later, she’d be a kind grandma to Shahzad. Maryam studied accounting and got a job in Khuzestan’s Water and Electricity Department. They remember her as a competent and honest civil servant. After they got married, Shahrokh went on to work at the Sama University campus in Ahvaz, at Azad University in Shooshtar and Masjed Soleiman, heading both universities’ electrical engineering departments. Six years later, they moved to Canada. It was there that their lovely daughter, Shahzad, came into being.
Shahzad. Her name means “of royal birth”. She was regally born to Maryam and Shahrokh amid a cold Canadian winter on December 16, 2011. The birth of their little angel, Shahzad, changed everything. And there’s a great story in it that Shahrokh could have recounted on the day of his daughter’s wedding. Now, I will tell it instead, for this account of their lives:
“The first man who fell in love with Shahzad was me.” Shahrokh used to say. He carried her home under his jacket that day. All the way from hospital to home, he couldn’t take his eye off her curious pair of eyes.
And I so wish Maryam was here herself to speak of her first motherly moments, with her sweet and eloquent way with words. Alas! They didn’t let them live.
Maryam went back to Canada and studied finance at Seneca College. She enrolled in courses on behavioral science, working in a shop at the same time. The parents loved their royal Shahzad. They were her playmates, her friends, her comrades, her loves, to the very last second of her life.
Shahzad’s stories were full of passion, love and drama. She’d flee from her bedroom to come to see her parents. She had all sorts of stories of her friends and school. She was kind to animals. She went Darlington Public School.
Her life was too short to have a turning point, a moment that changed everything. She loved her teacher and her friends. Her mother had created a game for her; a game of race with time. If she studied faster, she’d get a prize: a hug or a kiss, or sometimes cheese puffs or snacks, sometimes a trip to McDonalds, or once again time with her eternal playmate, her father.
This happy family were riding the waves of life when, in December 2019, they travelled Iran for the holidays and a wedding. We were dying to see them but alas, this became our very last meeting. A week before their eternal flight, we rented out a villa together. These were golden days, full of play and laughter. Shahzad had made two new friends: hungry dogs she called Heaven and Black-White. She kept on feeding them. We’ll go to heaven if we are good to animals, she would say. She even wanted to take them back to Canada. When she found out this would be impossible, she asked relatives to take care of them instead. They are loyal to me, she told them.
It was the cursed day of January 8, at 1.30am. They were ready to go to the airport but Shahzad was full of fear and stress. She was hiding in one of the rooms and didn’t want to leave. “Don’t let anyone take me,” she begged. But they had to go.
They got to the airport. Maryam kept texting until 5.20 am, telling us that the flight was delayed for some unspecified reason, maybe a technical failure. Then it finally took off.
Just a few minutes after takeoff, at 6.18 am on January 8, 2020, the dawn in the skies, heaven and earth were shrouded in blood. Missiles hit the plans. In the final moments of her life, Shahzad was in her father’s embrace. They occupied seats 31E and 31F. Her mother was on 30E. Woe to Maryam, who will have wanted to hug her Shahzad in that moment. But Shahzad was now outside of time. No more kisses, no more smiles, no more racing with time for her. The lights of their house went off forever.
Their family of three now lies in a cold grave. They are still holding one another in an embrace; this time, an eternal embrace.
Translator: Arash Azizi
Editor: Hannah Somerville