Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Aqsa Parvez


Aqsa Parvez, 16, Canada.

16 year old Aqsa Parvez, youngest of eight siblings, lived in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada with her family of Pakistani origin. Aqsa was 11, when her family migrated to Canada. As a typical teenager she wanted to dress based on her choice, listen to music, get a part-time job and be as other girls at school and neighborhood. However, this did not sit well with her father and siblings and there were constant conflicts regarding her attire and choices.

Her family wanted Aqsa to dress modestly, wear the hijab, imposing restrictions on her movements and social interactions including after school and weekend activities. Aqsa told a counselor at Applewood Heights Secondary School in Mississauga in September of 2007 “that she was afraid her father wanted to kill her …” the school subsequently made arrangements for Aqsa to stay at a shelter, but she only stayed there for three days. Following her return home, her family then permitted her to wear non-traditional clothes to school but the conflicts progressed and got worse. For the second time, Aqsa chose to live at a friend’s place, with constant requests from her family to return home.

On the morning of December 10th 2007, when Aqsa was standing at a bus stop with her friend on her way to school, her brother, 26 year old Muhammad Parvez, a tow truck driver, pulled up and asked Aqsa to come home with him and get more clothes if she was going to live away from home. Half an hour later, Aqsa’s father Waqas Parvez, called 911, telling the police he had “killed his daughter”. When police arrived, Aqsa was immediately taken to hospital in critical condition where she later died. It was revealed that she had been strangled.

Muhammad Parvez and Waqas Parvez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faced automatic life sentences. Initially it was believed by police that Muhammad Parvez killed his daughter, but in court it was determined that the brother had strangled Aqsa, it was a premeditated crime. In an interview with police, Aqsa’s mother said her husband told her he killed his youngest child because “my community will say, you have not been able to control your daughter. This is my insult. She is making me naked.”

Aqsa was known among friends and teachers as a bright spark of a child, friendly, caring and loving despite her many challenges. She was progressing in school and friends say all she wanted to do was “to be normal”.
‘At 8, I dream of wild flowers
At 12, of sunsets
At 16, of freedom to see both these bloom and rise
With my own eyes.’
On Earth, as in Heaven,
The wildflowers rise to their creation
Brilliant in color.
The sun glorious in its existence,
Sustaining life.
Undefeated in its purpose to live.
In the will through which it was born.
You remind us of the wildflower,
You are the sun.
Your life shines through
In your decision to live
as you intended.
Free-willed, determined, glorious.
It is for your light,
That you will be remembered.





Amandeep Atwal

Amandeep Atwal, 17, Canada.

Amandeep Atwal was a 17-year old Canadian girl known for her infectious laugh, positive presence and belief in love.

On July 30, 2003, Amandeep’s own father murdered her. He stabbed her repeatedly. After he killed her, he mutilated her face. He then drove her body some two hours to a hospital, where he claimed she had committed suicide.

Amandeep’s father, Rajinder Singh Atwal, was known in the community as a “mild-mannered” and “moderate” Sikh man. However, Atwal was driven into a murderous rage when he discovered that Amandeep had fallen in love with a non-Sikh boy, Todd McIsaac.

Amandeep and Todd had dated for three years, and intended to marry. Knowing that her family would disapprove, Amandeep kept their relationship private. She and Todd would meet secretly, and if he visited her home while her parents were away, he’d keep his running shoes by the back door just in case he needed to make a quick escape.

In June of 2003, Amandeep and Todd got into a terrible car accident, at which point her parents learned of their relationship. The revelation led to strife in Amandeep’s family, and rumours that her father became abusive toward her. Within just a few weeks, Amandeep had packed her things and left home to live with Todd, leaving only a note behind. Her mother discovered her note and managed to find her before she had left town. As a condition of letting her leave, Amandeep’s father managed to convince her to take one last vacation with the family, after which he vowed to drive her back to her new home with Todd. It seemed like an act of reconciliation – or even a blessing. She was told that she would see extended family and tell them of her decision to share her life with Todd.

She would never return. Some reports say that Amandeep was stabbed almost twenty times while still wearing her seatbelt. Her father played the part of a grieving parent after bringing her mutilated body to the hospital, but showed next to no emotion afterward – at least not until he was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Rajinder Singh Atwal remained composed during his trial, and his lawyer called no one to the stand as part of his defense. Amandeep’s brother said he felt conflicted about his sister’s death – on the one hand, he said – there was his sister; but on the other, his father.

Amandeep’s fiancé, Todd, remembers her as a brilliant, beautiful woman whose presence still guides him.

That day held a promise so ripe,

In raw expectation.

That day held forgiveness,

Like water in the hand of a desert wanderer.

That day held words,

Like the first breaths of freedom of an innocent prisoner.


She had love held captive,

In the unwalled spaces of her expansive heart.

That day she set them free.

She had beauty flowing unbounded from her being,

Only to be deflected by Intolerance.

That day beauty was set free.


No hurt, or blood can taint the purity of a heart in love.

No betrayal can deny existence of that beauty.

That day she set them free.

May she from whom this love and beauty flows,

Be to whom this love and beauty is bestowed.


Another light guiding honour,

On its path to freedom.