Cecilia’s death mourned online
By Allison Buchan-Terrell
As Canadians learn of the death of Cecilia Zhang, some Internet
users are coping with the shock by changing their MSN Messenger
MSN users reacted to the news of the discovery of Zhang’s
body by adding a C to the beginning of their online nicknames
to show their respect to the family, in memory of Cecilia.
The tribute has become a trend after users opted to recognize
the train bombings in Madrid. Many have adapted the practice
to the discovery of Zhang’s remains.
“Our thoughts are with the Zhang family at this difficult
time. While we are aware of the tribute to Zhang’s memory
through the use of MSN Messenger, we are not able to determine
how many of our users have adopted this handle,” said
Lisa Daly, marketing manager for MSN.ca.
Jordana Nepon, spokesperson for High-Road Communications,
said MSN Messenger has more than 11 million unique users per
month and 120 million customers worldwide log onto MSN each
“I think this is an excellent way to show respect,” said
Barbara Snider, case director for the Missing Children Society
of Canada, adding this is the first time she has seen something
“It is one way of showing support — a great way
for people who have access to computers,” she said, noting
people are at a loss and want to express this.
“The C symbolizes sympathy — my way of showing
sympathy and paying respects to her brutal death,” said
Darwish Shabar, a fourth-year history student, adding the first
thing he thought of was his 10-year-old brother.
“I don’t think it shows anything,” said Faren
Bogach, a third-year economics student.
“I think it’s a nice way for members of every
community across Canada to stand in solidarity with Zhang’s
family, and to send a message that our communities will not
stand down in the face of cowardly acts like this,” said
Paul Rakowski, a fourth-year genetics student.
“I believe using the C on an MSN name shows young people
are still concerned about their community,” said second-year
political science student Matthew Fisher.