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‘Sculptures are talking’: Selkirk man builds snow sculpture in memory of Iran plane crash victims

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A retired sculptor who lives in Selkirk, Man., has returned to his craft to construct an icy monument dedicated to the victims of a plane that was shot down in Iran earlier this month.

Majid Kermani stopped sculpting two years ago after suffering a back injury, and now works at the Black Cat Wear Parts foundry in Selkirk.

But Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752, which was shot down by an Iranian missile amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran, sparked an emotion and a moment Kermani had to capture.

“After I lost friends and the 176 people in that airplane crash … I thought, ‘I have to send a message to the world. To the people who make the decision to go to a war,'” he said.

“War is not a way of interacting. I believe war is the end of humanity, the end of negotiation,” Kermani said. “We ordinary people don’t want that. We want to live a peaceful life.”

The sculpture shows pigeons flying out of the cockpit of a plane, and in front of the structure the words “No war” stand in bold capital letters.

Kermani tried to represent the innocent victims of the flight, who were killed by accident as result of rising tensions between the United States and Iran, he explained.

The sculpture shows pigeons flying out of the cockpit of a plane, and in front of the structure the words “No war” stand in bold capital letters. Kermani said he used pigeons because they are often seen as a symbol of innocence. (Aviva Jacob/CBC)

“Sculptures are talking. They can send a message better than words,” Kermani said. “With a snow sculpture, I felt this message can be seen by everyone in the world.”

Kermani knew three of the victims — a man, his wife and his daughter — who were on board the plane that was shot down in Tehran by an Iranian missile.

“When this accident happened, I didn’t realize … he was there in that airplane. Then I heard about names the next day” Kermani said.

“It was so shocking.”

Since the crash, many mourners — especially in Winnipeg’s Iranian community — have said any one of them could have been on the plane.

This was also true for Kermani, who had originally planned to visit his family in Iran. But after Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was assassinated by the U.S., his family told him to stay put because they expected Iran to retaliate and that could make travelling dangerous.

“I had all the vacations booked, everything was ready to go, and then I had to stop,” Kermani said, adding that his family is in shock by the crash.

Kermani posted photos of his on Facebook and says there are many people who have given their support, he says.

The sculpture will eventually melt, but Kermani said he will keep maintaining it as best he can.

Flight PS752 was shot down earlier this month, shortly after take off from the airport in Tehran. None of the 176 people on board survived, including eight people from Winnipeg.



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