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 Vatche Arslanian

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Vatche Arslanian

  • Birth 1955 Syria
  • Death 8 Apr 2003 Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Burial Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Memorial ID 8256423

Canadian hero of the Red Cross and victim of the war in Iraq. Born in Syria in 1955, he moved to Canada in 1975. He worked as a taxi driver, dishwasher, security guard and hotel banquet organizer before becoming a former member of the Canadian Forces. While residing in Oromocto (New Brunswick), he also served on the town council and was deputy mayor.  He was an active volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross since 1991. He helped with fundraising and relief programs when 1,000 Kosovar refugees were housed on the Canadian Forces Base in Gagetown in 1999. He participated in his first overseas mission with the International Committe of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Georgia in 2000. On loan from the Canadian Red Cross, he was in Baghdad since July 17, 2001 to take charge of logistics for the ICRC in Iraq. He was given the option of leaving the city at the start of the war. He stayed. He played a key role in efforts to deliver urgently needed supplies, in particular to hospitals and water-treatment plants. In his eulogy, Mr. Balthasar Staehelin, ICRC delegate-general for the Middle East and North Africa, said of him: "His courageous decision to stay in Baghdad voluntarily and work alongside his local colleagues during the worst of the fighting made a marked difference to the lives of thousands of people.  We can find some solace in knowing that he helped to make that difference." Shortly before his death, Vatche Arslanian had expressed the meaning of his mission to a Red Cross colleague : "The work is rewarding, because helping to bring a smile and dignity to a fellow human being is deeply fulfilling". He was killed on April 8, 2003 in Baghdad when his car was caught in the crossfire between American and Iraqi troops.

Bio by: Guy Gagnon





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Guy Gagnon
  • Added: 10 Jan 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8256423
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Vatche Arslanian (1955–8 Apr 2003), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8256423, citing Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .