April 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Guest Editorial

A Death of Understanding
Grief in the Iranian-Jewish community of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills High School senior Bianca Khalili, 17, died as the result of a fall from the 15th floor of a Century Park East building. Police have determined that there was no foul play.

Nobody will ever know exactly what happened to Bianca Khalili, 17, who died on Memorial Day in a fall from a 15th floor balcony of an apartment building in Century City. Bianca was supposed to graduate from Beverly Hills High School this year. Her friends and family are now victims of shattered dreams.

People are pointing fingers, not knowing what to think or who to blame, as they may never truly know whether this incident was a homicide, suicide or just an accident. What would be the cure to this inexhaustible, boundless torment? And why is this community filled with so much gossip and negative judgment?

Bianca’s cousin Michelle Pessah said, “Instead of bringing this community together, this event is causing us to distance ourselves from a community that should be offering support to one another instead of engaging in disparagement.â€

To change this behavior, we would be stepping outside our comfort zones into an unknown world—a scary place for most of us, because we are used to convention. We feel the need to explore this new territory before feeling secure. As a result, we imprison ourselves and accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted thoughts, judgments and ideologies.

Since we are not in the know, we must look to each other for guidance in this time when we need to grieve, to take steps towards acceptance, and to ultimately cultivate our network as a distinct life is over and irretrievably lost.

One of Bianca’s best friends was Erhan Ciris, who showed me his room where Bianca had written on the wall. He plans on having it cut out and framed. “Bianca and I have shared too many memories for me to be able to comfortably live in this house. I am haunted by her presence everywhere I go—I used to cook for her in my kitchen, watch TV with her on my couch and hang out with her in my room. I have to move out of this apartment,†said Erhan.

Where do these handfuls of memories now reside? It is salient that her friends and family want to hold them so close and at the same time push them away so that they will not be inundated with this unbearable pain. All that is left of her life can fit into a few boxes and their thoughts. Reminders of a well-traveled path that was cut too short has transformed into a journey that now only exists in how well they can recall it.

If I could pinpoint the most destructive trait rampant in many close communities, it would be competition. We are desperately trying to compete with one another for components that contribute to our overall happiness—beauty, education, the opposite sex, marriage, wealth. And in order to win, we try to eradicate these components from other people because we feel that our resources are limited.

This reminds me of zero-sum game theory, in which a person’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of another participant. By eliminating these components from other people’s lives, we think we will have more for ourselves. But take a look at what happened to Bianca Khalili. Virtually every component of her life was eliminated since her life itself was taken away, and what have we gained from her loss? Nothing.

in News
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