By Natalia Balcerzak
“Don’t worry, don’t worry,” were the words he’d always say.
Mohammed Kablawi was the type of person that made it easy to pour your heart out. He was always reassuring everyone that it would be okay. His white hair and smile were his special trademarks, and he’d often go along with his friends jokingly calling him the “grandpa” of the group.
On Sept. 21, the fourth-year business finance student died after a car crash. He was in a five-person, single-vehicle collision on Sept. 5 in the Northern Bruce Peninsula, and went into a coma for 16 days. He was 21.
Kablawi was known for being proud of his Palestinian heritage and wanted the world to know about his homeland. Although he had never set foot in Palestine, he wore a pendant of his nation’s map around his neck. His email address was cool-falasteeny, which translates to “cool Palestinian.”
His friends remember him as a man who took his faith seriously, reserving five parts of his day for prayers. Kablawi was never ashamed to show how religious he was and prayed wherever he could.
He was a dear friend to many and helped the people around him — like his close friend Anwer El Turk, who said he remembers Kablawi as someone that gave the best advice.
Turk said he recalls an evening when he was very depressed and felt that all hope was lost. When Kablawi knocked at the door, he immediately noticed his friend’s pain and insisted on knowing what was wrong.
“I told him that I am regretting a huge mistake I did and that I am not pleased with my life, [so] he took me to my bed and calmed me down,” Turk said. “He told me, ‘It’s okay, don’t worry,’ — at that moment when I saw his face I felt comfort and peace.
“Kablawi always reminded me that I should be pleased and grateful for the blessings I have.”
Hamzah Sidek said that Kablawi was the type of friend who was there for you and aware of people’s feelings. “He is happy if you are, and sad if you are sad,” Sidek said. “He [is] now known as Mohammed with the magical smile and his heart is pure white as his hair.”
During his time at Ryerson, Kablawi would make an effort every weekend to visit his parents. He strongly believed in the importance of family and often reminded his close friends to be more open with theirs.
“He was a very hard-working student, taking seven and sometimes even eight courses a semester, so that he can make his family proud and graduate in just four years,” said friend Ahmad Kala.
Kablawi was set to graduate this October.
In the car before the accident, Sidek was asleep on Kablawi’s shoulder before being woken by the crash. He said he wants to share his story of what happened on that day.
“My head was hanging outside of the right door and I was leaning on the ground with a dislocated broken hip and neck fractures. Mohammed’s eyes were open but he couldn’t talk [because] he was having a seizure,” said Sidek. “I want to say that I felt what he went through, even though he was [in] worse shape than me, I know what [it] is like to see death in your eyes.”
For Kala, Kablawi will forever live in the decisions he inspires. “Kablawi made me rethink my life and the decisions I made to [be] the best, I will always carry on his advice and live by his name,” said Kala. “I love him, adore him and I just wish I can hug him again, and learn more from him — rest in peace, my friend, may God have mercy on your soul.”
The Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association has created a Go Fund Me campaign to raise $10,000 to sponsor an orphan in Palestine in Kablawi’s name.