Know Their Name: The Website Celebrating the Lives of New Zealand Terror Attack Victims
By Muhammed Aladdin
On Friday, March 15th, 2019, the island nation of New Zealand plunged into grief after a terror attack claimed the lives of fifty Muslims and injured hundreds more. A radicalized gunman opened fire on helpless worshippers, breaching the very sanctity of human life.
And while the majority of prominent news outlets focused on the perpetrator, a handful shed light on the lives of the victims. It seemed that once again the names would be forgotten, and the world would carry on as if nothing happened.
To make sure history will not repeat itself, Abdellatif Abdel-Fattah, a San Fransico-based Egyptian Software Engineer, launched a digital memorial website to share the stories of the victims who lost their lives on Friday.
In a Facebook post, the young man explains how he related to many of the victims. Every Friday, he goes to the mosque to perform the Friday prayer just like them. The stories made him tear up; they were very similar to his story and that of his family and friends.
“The most difficult part of building this website was going through each individual and finding out their story. We hope that by letting people know who they are, we bring down dehumanization. Letting people know that these victims are normal people, like you and I,” he continued.
The homepage of “Know Their Name” has a collage of all the victims’ pictures and names; by clicking on one of the pictures, a detailed story of a victim’s life appear.
With each crisis, we are desensitized more and more, becoming less human, however, “Know Their Name” is helping us put a face, name, and a story to the numbers we hear on the news. Through this painful experience, we remember that these victims had dreams and aspirations just like us. Their death was uncalled for, and so, their names should not be forgotten.
Abdel-Fattah is urging people to send him more information about the victims so the world would get to know “who these beautiful souls were”.
“If you, like myself, felt helpless and didn’t know what to do, be sure to donate, share their story, and most importantly, keep them in your prayers,” he stated ending his Facebook post.
Abdellatif Abdel-Fattah graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor degree in Software Engineering. The young man interned at NASA, as well as Groupon, and is currently working as a frontend software engineer at Twitter.