In a beautiful gesture of remembrance, a Canadian high school student meticulously folded 6,000 origami cranes to honour the Muslims killed in the 2017 Quebec mosque shooting.
Arthur Thompson de la Chenelière was inspired by a Japanese cultural aspect that says 1,000 folded cranes will ensure one wish will come true.
He therefore folded 6,000 cranes—one thousand for each of the six victims—shaped them into a map of the earth, then encircled them with his wishes. Each wish is written in both French and Arabic.
One wish reads: “I hope that everyone will remember violent events like that of January 2017, to make sure it never happens again.”
Another says: “I hope everyone in the world learns to love and respect each other.”
The Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec translated the wishes into Arabic.
Arthur spent 300 hours folding the cranes, then another 20 hours assembling the final piece. For him, it was a way to honour the dead and promote peace and harmony in the world, while acknowledging a community that he was closely connected to.
Two children of one of the victims, Azzedine Soufiane, attend the same school as Arthur.
“I realised how close these horrors were to me, and I wanted to do something about it,” he explained to CBC. “So I used my project to honour the people that died and denounce the horrors.”
On 29 January 2017, a lone gunman killed six worshippers at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City shortly after the end of evening prayers.
The victims were Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane and Azzedine Soufiane. Soufiane, the father of Arthur’s classmates, was said to have prevented more deaths by charging the gunman.
Arthur’s piece is a wonderful way to remember them all, and a timely symbol of healing in light of such a loss.