Mehraban Badiei Ardestani
Mehraban, the Sun of Summer
She was born on a warm day in August of 2001. They named her Mehraban (which means “kind” in Persian). Little did they know that her name would be so befitting of her character and spirit. She was kind just like the hot sun of that August day, bright like that sunlight, and warm just like the land she was born in. She was shining bright and giving life to those around her, just like the sun. She wanted to get to know the world, and she knew that to know the world, first she had to learn the languages of other countries. She started learning French and English at the same time when she was ten years old. Everyone would draw on the passion, enthusiasm, talent, and the love within her. She was always laughing and had the most beautiful smile. She spread kindness and love as long as she was around.
Mehraban grew up and grew brighter, more admirable, and more beautiful every day. When she was in high school, she made her decision: She wanted to become a doctor, to heal others’ wounds literally, to give other people hope, and to make the world a more beautiful place. Undoubtedly, if she were not on that flight, she would have been one of the best and kindest doctors in the world. She could have given life, made sacrifices to help others, and been a beacon of light in the dark, just like a lighthouse. Yet, their “human error” took away a bright future not only from her but also from us.
Since she was a teenager, she was determined to study at a good university. In 2017, she came to Canada with her mother on a student visa. When she decided to immigrate, she wrote in her diary: “The purpose of the first year of immigration is to meet new people and make new friends.” With all the passion and love possible from a 16-year-old girl, she settled in a free and safe country. She completed the 11th and 12th grades at Woodbridge College in Toronto and obtained her high school diploma with outstanding grades. As a result, she received admission to the University of Ottawa as an Exceptional Student.
Dr. Saeid Badiei stayed behind in Tehran to work as hard as he could, like the kind father he was, to provide for and support her daughter. Her mother was with her in Canada so that her only child, her Mehraban, her flesh and blood could realize her ambitious dreams. Mehraban was grateful for her parents’ kindness and support. She gave them hope that one day she would become a medical specialist and purchase a nice home and a high-end car, bring her parents to live with her, and compensate them for all their efforts. Her desire to learn and earn knowledge was so strong that in Canada, in addition to English and French, she learnt Arabic and Turkish from one of her friends. Her kind and altruistic spirit continued in Canada as well. It was only a few months after Mehraban started university that she volunteered to provide advice and counselling to Iranian students who were planning to pursue medical studies. Everyone loved her. How could one not love her?
However, something unexpected shook Mehraban’s and her mother’s hearts, and her mother had to leave Canada: The loving father had fallen ill. Her mother found a house in Ottawa for Mehraban, and she became a roommate with an Iranian girl who was as pleasant and loving as she was. The mother went to Iran to be with her sick husband. Mehraban, who couldn’t sleep because of concerns for her father’s conditions, kept calling her family. The vacation between two university semesters came, and Mehraban, whose heart was in Iran, decided to visit her ailing father. Her mother urged her to wait until the summer vacation and not bother with the long journey for a mere two weeks. However, Mehraban was too worried and had to make it to Iran sooner rather than later. She had to see her father. With her arrival, she brought the warmth of her affection to her parental home in the cold of the winter. They spent happy days together, but time passed quickly, and it was time to leave.
On the morning of January 18, 2018, Mehraban was flying to Kyiv, and from there, she was going to Canada. Most of the passengers were Iranian. At the airport, her parents didn’t know that it was the last time they would see their dearest daughter’s smiling eyes. Mehraban hugged her parents, passed through the gate, waved at them, and left. A departure with no return. Her parents did not believe the news at first. They thought that it was a nightmare. A nightmare from which they would soon wake up. Then, they would take a sip of water and call Mehraban, who would tell them that she had arrived safely. They would be able to hear her laughter again, and the world would be filled with the fragrance of her kindness. Yet, this news was not a nightmare. It was the most bitter reality of their lives until that moment. They realized that from then on, their lives will be constant suffering and endless pain. Mehraban was gone, and all the tears in the world will not bring her back. The officials first claimed that the crash was due to a technical fault. Mehraban’s parents’ hearts were burning with anguish, but they told themselves that a person cannot escape fate. A few days later, however, when the real truth was revealed, their suffering and pain were replaced by inexhaustible anger. The news published smelled of deliberate destruction. There was no destiny or fate. Two missiles had hit the plane. Now, the authorities claimed that it was human error. That easy! A human error which cost the precious lives of 176 innocent people, a human error which destroyed the lives of 176 innocent families.
Mehraban’s parents wake up every day to the bitter truth that they will never see their beloved child again. They remember her last look and spend their painful days reminiscing about her. Mehraban was one of 176 people whose hopes were shattered in a moment – in the blink of an eye – in the name of human error and whose bodies were scattered on the plains of a place that was supposed to be their homeland. Mehraban has departed. Mehraban, whose presence made the earth more beautiful, became one of the Flight 752’s stars. A short, sweet, and unforgettable presence. A person who could enjoy life and add to the beauty of life is no longer among us, and without a doubt, the world, in her absence, is missing a bright sun, the heat of her August, and her warming sunshine.