Faculty members and students at the University of B.C. Okanagan held a short performance to pay tribute to those who have died in protests in Iran in the atrium of the engineering building on Dec. 5, 2022. (Brittany Webster/Capital News)

‘Everybody dies, but not everybody lives’: UBCO remembers lives lost in Iranian protests

Paper boats were handed out in memory of Kian Pirfalak

As anti-government protests continue in Iran, staff and students at the UBC Okanagan gathered to pay tribute to the many lives lost in the fight for rights and freedoms.

In the atrium of the engineering building, people could view artwork and listen to music while waiting for a performance.

Sepideh Pakpour with the School of Engineering said, “Art is a universal language, and there is no language barrier when we want to translate our feelings in other words to the world.”

The performance was a collaborative project across several faculties and including students of various nationalities.

Pakpour said they had one main message to get across, “The children’s lives matter.”

In a special tribute to 10-year-old Kian Pirfalak, a little girl handed out paper boats with little messages inside.

“There are quite a few viral videos that show he wanted to be an inventor,” said Ray Taheri, an engineering professor. “One of his inventions, he designed a boat. He wanted to go to competition, and most likely would have won.”

READ MORE: Death of child at hands of Islamic republic hits close to home for Kelowna’s Iranians

Kian, like 60 other children, was shot and killed during a protest.

“Everyone dies, but not everyone lives,” Taheri said. “Kian, at a very young age, fulfilled his life. His legacy will be in our hearts forever. He didn’t invent the boat… but he invented something above and beyond any boat. He gave his life for the freedom of a nation.”

Over 18,000 people have been detained in Iran, many of whom are university students.

Taheri said the government is even using systematic rape as a way to break people’s spirits.

READ MORE: Barred from stadiums at home, Iran women travel to World Cup


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brittany.webster@blackpress.ca

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