Around 5:40 pm on 17th April, the beautiful day turned into a terrible tragedy when a vehicle-born improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated outside “Nelly” cafe and Barista cafe, targeting the United States Consulate and taking the lives of two innocent people and leaving 11 injured.
Onel Ewan, a 21 year old graduate of Arbaello and UR Assyrian Schools, a member of ChaldoAssyrian Students and Youth Union, and currently a student in Ishik University, graduating this summer from civil engineering, is unfortunately one of the injured people and is being treated in one of the public hospitals in Arbil.
During our visit, we had the chance to chat with Onel and his friend Raseen, who was also with him the day of the incident, as they were sitting at O’caffe around 30 meters away from the US consulate. Onel stood up and was heading towards Nelly cafe, with the hopes of grabbing a bite to eat, “shawarma”, but he never made it.
“He got lost in the fire,” said Raseen.
Onel has first, second, and third degree burns level on his face, hands, and back. But the smile never left his face and the jokes never stopped among us.
As this is life of our youth in the homeland, this is not the first time. Onel is not the first victim, he is one of the heroes of our nation, not for surviving the explosion, but for overcoming this tragedy with stronger hope and will to improve our lives in our country.