I received a wonderful note from Scott McLeod, Fire Chief in the town of Pelham in Canada, updating us on the Aqsa Parvez Memorial. How magnificent her garden will be! (above)
I had no idea how difficult and ugly it would be to simply honor a teenage girl in Canada who just wanted to live free but was savagely killed in an "honor killing". In defiance of her devout father and brother, she refused to live under the suffocating dictates of Islamic law. The eleventh grade student began taking off her hijab, a traditional headscarf, when she went to school, and would put it back on when she returned home. "She wanted to dress like us," said one girl. "To be normal." For those of you unfamiliar with the story, scroll this link.
A year after Aqsa Parvez was brutally murdered by her father and brother, the abuse of this girl continued. She laid in unmarked grave. Her family refused to acknowledge her life, as she "dishonored" them. Last December, when I read that Aqsa lay in an unmarked grave, I got sick. I started a memorial fund to get her a headstone.
Aqsa's unmarked grave
The above was the proposed headstone.
Robert Spencer came aboard, and he and I worked on the headstone. Atlas readers opened their hearts and their wallets, and $5,000 was raised. All was going according to plan until, after much silence, Meadowvale cemetery advised me that the family (yes, the family that murdered her) had refused to "sign off" on the headstone. The director of the cemetery said:
"The family want changes and is planning on coming in to see me. They did not book an appointment yet but I hope to see them soon"
Of course, the family never came, and when we inquired as to purchasing a plot near Aqsa's body, we could not. Not a tree. Not a rock. Not a bench. All the plots were owned by the Islamic Society of North America. Needless to say, the family would not take my calls (I spoke to the them once, but they pretended not to speak English). The family refused to allow it. "A cemetery employee said there is no problem if others want to place a flat memorial there, but it would be removed if the family were to demand that".
Other locations were pursued - plans made, only to be canceled at the last minute out of ....fear. Here is what the University of Guelph wrote at the time:
Dear Ms. Geller:
The prime purpose of The Arboretum in the University setting is to provide a living outdoor laboratory for education, research and outreach. As such it has developed into a well used multi-faceted department as part of the institution. As you have discovered one aspect is the memorial program. However from its inception, success of The Arboretum dedication program has been due to it being a space dedicated to quiet reflection and meditation. It is because of the peaceful nature of The Arboretum that, over the years, many individuals have chosen to dedicate benches and to plant trees in memory of loved ones. I believe that, no matter how worthy, a memorial to Aqsa Parvez would draw much public attention and would thus be inconsistent with current use of The Arboretum.
Ric Jordan, Manager
Atlas readers to the rescue again. A number of readers like Gerry Vincent and Norman Traversy scouted other locations. And then .........to the rescue, Scott McLeod. Scott McLeod is the fire chief in Pelham and the driving force behind the Aqsa Parvez memorial resolution. He proposed the resolution to City Councilor Sharon Cook and she went to work getting it passed.
And the Aqsa Parvez Memorial will be erected in Pelham this summer! The granite bench will be inscribed - In loving memory of Aqsa Parvez, Beloved, Remembered and Free. Exhale.
Of course, the leftist media and their tools got wind of the story and were ugly and apoplectic. S[m]elley over at the National Post wrote here:
And hey, if a tasteful memorial is eventually erected, 20 years later it might not matter who came up with the idea. I don’t know. I do know that as an anti-Muslim maniac, Geller makes a very poor spokeswoman for the cause, and that it’s no help to anyone to pretend, as Warmington did, that her motives are pure.
Of course, the left must inject its special brand of poison. The hatred of the good.
But no matter ........... beautiful things are happening. Scott sent me the plans (figure 1 and the attached background).
Here is what Scott McLeod wrote me today:
Once the dedication date is firmed up I will provide further information.
If you are unable to attend, I will make sure a video walk through and dedication DVD is sent to you.
I believe that you have done a magnificent job of coordinating the idea and raising awareness of this situation.
As a firefighter we have a saying that good firefighters always go to heaven, never to hell, cause they'll put it out.
If you have any 'sins' in your life, you have canceled them with this effort. LOL
Welcome to the Fire Service, Honorary Firefighter Geller, get ready to help us batter the gates of hell.
Scott McLeod, Fire Chief Town of Pelham
No, I don't think so. I think Scott will go to heaven, as will every single good soul who contributed, made calls, wrote letters and made this happen. YOU MADE THIS HAPPEN. G-d bless you.
Information on the park (attached to figure 1)
June 15, 2009
SUBJECT: Update of Staff Actions - Aqsa Parvez Memorial
Kelly Walsh, P. Eng.s.
FINANCIAL, LEGAL AND STAFFING IMPLICATIONS:
It is anticipated that the costs of the memorial will be covered through donations.
a) Origin of Report: The Director of CIS wishes to update Committee on the tasks to date as well as future plans.
b) Authority: The Town is responsible for alterations to Peace Park.
c) Purpose: To update Committee on progress to date.
At its ) meeting, General Committee requested staff to provide a plan for a memorial to Aqsa Parvez and to the plight of suffering that many immigrants to our country have endured.
Shortly, Chief McLeod, the Director of CIS and a representative from Kirkpatrick O'Brine Monuments will be meeting to discuss specific details for the bench (immigrant suffering) and a plaque (Parvez) inset into a concrete pad.
Committee will find attached a proposed plan for the memorial area in Peace Park. In addition to the memorial area, there are several trees that should be removed due to age or condition and sidewalk reconstruction to make the park more accessible. These costs will not be attributed to the memorial funds.
The dedication of the memorial will take place in late July, exact date to be determined.
Peace Park Plan (Figure 1) and Memorial area detail (Figure 2)
The Aqsa Parvez Peace Park. I think she'd like that.
Aqsa will be remembered at The Aqsa Parvez Peace Park in Canada. And in addition, there is the Aqsa Parvez Grove we are planting in American Independence Park in Jerusalem, Israel, where the plaque will read:
In Loving Memory of