MSF Vigil in New York City for Our Colleagues Killed
June 19, 2004
On the evening of Saturday, June 19, MSF held a vigil in front of the Ghandi statue in Union Square Park, Manhattan, for Hélène de Beir, Egil Tynaes, Pim Kwint, Besmillah, and Fasil Ahmad, who were killed in a brutal attack in Afghanistan on June 2.
More than 100 MSFers â€“ field volunteers, staff, and members of the Board â€“ walked in single file from Fifth Avenue and 12th Street, each carrying an orchid. We were led by five field volunteers carrying large bouquets of flowers, one for each of our colleagues. The world-renowned saxophone player Kenny Garrett was waiting for us, playing gentle music at the Ghandi statue.
We chose Union Square Park because this was an important gathering place immediately after September 11, where people hung photographs of their loved ones missing in the attacks. It became a place of mourning and remembrance. We created a shrine of photographs and text describing Helene, Egil, Pim, Besmillah, and Fasil, and placed our flowers in front of them, one by one, and tied our home-made MSF armbands to the fence surrounding the shrine before we left. The shrine remained in place for over a week, with many New Yorkers stopping as they passed by to pay their respects.
Walking to the vigil
A young visitor stops to pay her respects
A moment of silence
Carol Etherington, former MSF-USA Board President, says a few words
The shrine remained in place for over a week