June 23, 2020: The 35th Anniversary of the Air India 182 Bombing

…All the years just wash over and it’s true what remains is, for me, a sense of love for the families who remember and for those who have stood with us…

renee-sarojini-saklikar
Photo credit: Adrian Dix

A CBC article published today, “35 years on, Air India bombing to be remembered at private gatherings, online memorial Social Sharing” An excerpt:

“Families of the Air India bombing victims are moving from group memorials to small, private gatherings and online condolences as they commemorate the 35th anniversary of the worst mass murder in Canadian history during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physical distancing rules and restrictions on gatherings of more than 50 people have resulted in a shift from the in-person memorial services that are held annually in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.

Air India Flight 182 disappeared from radar off the coast of Ireland after a bomb exploded on the airplane on June 23, 1985, killing 329 people.

Among the dead were 280 Canadians and 86 children.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar, who lost her uncle, Dr. Umar Jethwa, and aunt, Zebunnisa Jethwa, in the bombing, visited the memorial in Vancouver’s Stanley Park on Monday to mourn them privately.

‘There is always this reminder of the senselessness of these sorts of acts. The violence of it is always brought home to me,’ she said.”

Read the Full Article

 

Air India 182: The 30th Anniversary

Ahakista_Memorial_of_the_Air_India_Crash
Ahakista Memorial of the Air India 182 Bombing. Image by Pam Brophy.

This past month, I was honoured to be invited to do a reading from children of air india at the West Cork Arts Centre. Below, a summary of the Irish news coverage regarding the 30th anniversary of the bombing of Air India Flight 182:

The bombing of Air India Flight 182: A Canada/Ireland connection

Guest reading in Skibbereen, Ireland on June 22 titled History, Grief, Remembrance: the bombing of Air India Flight 182, June 23, 1985, a Canada/Ireland connection.

West Cork Art Centre
Image from the West Cork Art Centre

“This event at Uillinn will probe in these various ways “the central proposition that violence emits a continuing sonar, an echolocation that finds us, as citizens/individuals/people, and as a community/nation/gathering.”

Date: Monday 22 June, 2015
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Uillinn – West Cork Arts Centre
Free Event, Booking required
All welcome

I’ll also visit the Air India Memorial in Ahakista, Ireland to attend the 30th Anniversary memorial: there is a garden on the shores of the Sheep’s Head peninsula, a long stone wall carved with the names of the dead and a sundial sculpture… each year local Cork families and school children join returning Air India family members in a short service. One of my first Air India poems imagined this experience: “Flying across Canada to Ireland” and it is now embedded across the length of the book, children of air india.