There is no one left of us
There is no one left from their family of three to narrate their story, to tell of their love and affection, to narrate their dreams and ideals, and to recount their oppression, symbolized by the fact that no traces of their family remains.
His name was Shahrokh Eghbali Bazoft, born on September 28th, 1960. He would have turned 62 years old in September 2022. He was kind, honest, and reliable. A bright child of a creative family, he loved inventing and repairing home electric appliances since he was a child. From time to time, after the disappearance of an electronic device, the eyes would fall on him. He used to try to keep this passion a secret behind a mischievous smile. A secret that was revealed years later, after his immigration, collected in a large bag in the corner of a closet. A bag full of lost [electrical] devices, some appearing new and functional and some unusable. I wish he were around to narrate his own story.
Shortly after the 1979 revolution, he decided to continue his studies abroad. He went to the University of Oxford and then immigrated to the US. He studied at the University of Illinois and obtained a master’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering with the highest honours, and started working as a director of the electronic and electrical laboratory at the same university. Then he immigrated to Canada, where he worked in programming and information technology (IT). After a while, he returned to Iran to get married. It was 14 years ago that he met Maryam. As he said, the halo around Maryam’s face fascinated him. I wish they were here themselves to tell about their first meeting, a meeting that was the turning point of their lives.
Maryam Aghamiri was born on February 12th, 1973. She lost her father and mother as a child. The coldness of her world was warmed by the presence of her siblings, especially by one sister who played the role of a mother to her and, later, a kind grandmother to Shahzad. Maryam, a trained accountant, worked in the Khuzestan Water and Electricity Department. They remember her as a competent and honest employee. After their marriage, Shahrokh worked at SAMA University campus in Ahvaz, at Azad1 Universities in Shooshtar and Masjed Soleiman, heading these universities’ electrical engineering departments. Six years later, they immigrated to Canada again. That is where their sweet daughter Shahzad was born.
Shahzad, whose name means princess in Persian, was born to Maryam and Shahrokh on a cold Canadian winter day on December 16th, 2011. According to them, the birth of their little angel Shahzad was the turning point of their lives. Memories that Shahrokh could have told everyone on his daughter’s wedding day. Instead, I have to share them here as part of their biographies.
I was the first man who fell in love with Shahzad. Shahrokh would have said this if he, and they, had lived to see her wedding day. He would tell everyone that he held Shahzad in his jacket on the way from the hospital to their home. “I did not take my eyes off her curious eyes during the entire trip”, he would have reminisced.
And I also wish Maryam was herself here to tell about her first motherhood experiences in her own eloquent and sweet manner. Alas! They didn’t let them live. Maryam studied finance at Seneca College in Canada and also enrolled in behavioral science studies. At the same time, she was working at a store. The parents loved their princess. They were her playmates, her loves, her co-singers, and her cuddle buddies until the very last moment.
Shahzad’s stories were full of passion, love, and excitement: From running away from her bedroom to sneak and sleep in her parent’s bed to the stories of her friends and school and her love for animals. She studied at Darlington School. Her life was too short to have a turning point.
She loved his teacher and friends. Her mother had made a game for her: A race game against the time. If she studied her lessons faster, she’d get a prize: a hug or a kiss, or sometimes cheese puffs or snacks, sometimes a trip to McDonald’s, or once again, time with her eternal playmate, her father.
This happy family, riding the waves of life, went to Iran in December 2019 for vacation and to participate in the wedding ceremony of an acquaintance. We had wished to meet them again, but alas, this was the last meeting. The week before their eternal flight, we all rented out a villa together. We spend happy days filled with games and laughter. Shahzad even made two new friends: two hungry dogs she named 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. “These dogs are loyal to me”, she told them.
It was 1:30 a.m. on the cursed day of January 18, 2020. They wanted to go to the airport, but Shahzad was stressed out and afraid. She was hiding in a room and didn’t want to leave. She was begging not to let them take her. But they needed to get on their way. They reached the airport; Maryam was texting until 5:20 AM about the flight being delayed for unknown reasons, possibly due to a technical issue. Finally, the flight took off.
Mere minutes after the plane took off at 6:18 AM on January 18, 2020, it was at the first twilight when they covered the earth and the sky in blood. They hit their flight feathers with several rockets. Shahzad was in her father’s arms in those last moments: Seats 31E and 31F. Her mother was sitting in seat 30E. Woe to Maryam, who was looking to hug her princess at that moment. But Shahzad is no longer left behind by time, there is no longer a kiss, a smile, or a race with time for her. The light in their house was turned off forever.
Their family of three now lies in a cold grave. They are still holding one another in an eternal embrace.
1 Azad universities are a network of semi-private universities across Iran. Unlike public universities, they charge relatively high tuition fees. Their board of trustees are elected from Islamic Republic officials and affiliates.