Edit - Just got home from rehearsal and found these comments ... it's important to make sure there's no confusion here. I was not Reema's teacher, and I did not write this (must remember that not everyone reads the subject line). It was posted on an online forum by her teacher and I was so moved by it, I felt the need to share it in my journal. I will try to locate the source and link to it directly.
One of the people killed, Reema Samaha, was my student.
She was a lovely girl with a luminous smile. She somehow gave the impression of being completely open, but also completely capable of hiding complexities unimagined by those around her.
When she spoke up in class others followed her example. Once she admitted sheepishly that she hadn't done the day's assigned reading, yet went on to be one of the most valuable and insightful contributors to the discussion.
She was a dancer. I envied her abdominals.
I'm looking at an in-class assignment she completed with a small group of peers. The class was discussing the role of mythology in modern culture and I challenged the groups to create a modern myth. Reema delightedly egged on the group as they created a silly story about chocolate milk coming from chocolate cows secretly raised on Colombian dairy farms. I can hear her giggling as I read her neat, exact printing on the plain sheet of college ruled paper. She did not know how to spell "distributor."
I would give everything I own to have the opportunity to correct that sloppy spelling again, to scold her for being late to class, to forgive her for both in an instant when she smiled.
She deserved better than my tutelage, better than to die on the floor of some nameless classroom, better than any of us could give her. I know she believed in a God and an afterlife. Perhaps she is in a better place, beyond pain and fear, and the events of April 16 were no more than a brief snarl in the thread of her life.
She is gone. That is tragedy enough for a lifetime.