Tribute to Amir Benayad, between sorrow and anger
The rally for the memory of young Amir Benayad, shot dead on Thursday evening, was an opportunity for relatives to gather and make their voices heard their anger. “Governments must work together to end this violence,” they say.
Gathered at the corners of rue Rivard and rue Roy, in the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal, dozens of people came to meditate in front of portraits of young Amir Benayad and that of other young people also mown down by death. After several speeches, a minute of silence was observed.
Several friends and relatives of the victim wanted to speak out to explain who Amir was. A childhood friend describes Amir as “smiling”. “When I heard about it, I didn't want to believe it,” he says. “Amir had dreams and was passionate about cars. He wanted to make his mother proud”, explains Khalil Guerci. Amir's little brother spoke with difficulty as he was so moved. He mourns the loss of his big brother whom he describes as a “good caring guy”.
“This is a gathering to commemorate Amir. He was killed as his life was beginning. We are horrified as a parent and as a community,” explains Nadia Kettaf, who helped with the organization. “We give moral comfort to the family, and we come to send a message to those who are at the top of the pyramid. What are you waiting for?” asks Ratiba Yahia Aïssa.
The father of Hani Ouahdi, another youth killed last December, called for Canadian solidarity and asked the youth to be at peace.
As a reminder, Amir Benayad was the victim of firearms fire on Thursday evening. The police had located the victim, near Roy and Rivard streets in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, shot in the upper body. Rushed to hospital, he eventually succumbed to his injuries. This event is the first homicide to occur on the territory of the City of Montreal, patrolled by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) in 2022.
Anger and insecurity
In the assistance, a feeling of anger reigns, the authorities are asked to do more and in an effective way. “For a year nothing has been done. These young people go into oblivion. It is not normal that the investigations do not succeed. I am speaking directly to Valérie Plante: why are thousands of families leaving Montreal? people do not feel safe. Will you take action? a tweet is not enough”, launches Nadia Kettaf.
A sentiment shared by a friend of Amir, Joanis Mufali, Some young people say they are afraid to walk in the streets. The city has become a shootout city, it's so sad. This guy had such a great future. Naila Naoui, student in social intervention, sent a message of condolence and anger. She explains the collateral damage caused by the management of the pandemic where there are no concrete plans to counter the violence. For his part, Azzouz Abdellah asks the government to review what they are doing and not doing and sends a message of peace to young people. “There are too many mothers crying,” he says.
In municipal opposition, Ensemble Montreal leader Aref Salem and city councilor Abdelhaq Sari feel this sentiment of anger. They explain that these events are like a vicious circle. “The anger is there, there is no denying it. It’s a cry from the community,” says Aref Salem. Mr. Sari hopes that the police services will be improved, especially in terms of numbers, in order to make the city safer. “Is the city still safe? the answer we have today.