HOW MANY MORE OF THESE “EXCEPTIONAL GIRLS” HAVE TO DIE BEFORE PEOPLE START GETTING HONEST ABOUT WHAT AND WHO IS KILLING THEM?
‘An exceptional girl’
Mournful classmates of dead teen hold hands around football field
MONTREAL – Unable to comprehend the shocking death of 13-year-old Noutene Sidimé, hundreds of classmates and friends gathered on their high school football field Tuesday morning to celebrate her life.
“Noutene, Noutene,” they chanted as they held hands in a circle as large as the field at École Secondaire Jacques Rousseau in Longueuil.
Noutene was remembered as a delightful girl who brought cheer to everyone she met.
“She was an exceptional girl – always with a smile on her face,” said Charles Levi-Kouame, a close friend of Noutene’s brother, Yacouba, 14, who organized the rally on Facebook over the weekend.
Noutene died in a hospital Saturday after falling into a coma last Wednesday. Her father, Moussa Sidimé, called 911, saying he had “slapped” his daughter during an argument at their Longueuil apartment.
The father, charged with aggravated assault, appeared briefly in court Tuesday. His bail hearing was postponed to Friday.
When paramedics arrived at the girl’s home last week, Noutene was unconscious and bleeding heavily from the nose. She fell into a coma and never recovered.
Charles told the crowd at the high school that they were all surprised and stunned by Noutene’s death.
“Noutene, you have touched us all in many ways,” he said. “I hope you like where you are. We will never forget you.”
Yacouba was given a huge cheer by his fellow students as he walked to midfield, where dozens of balloons were released in memory of his sister, a Grade 8 student.
Yacouba declined to talk to the media, but several of Noutene’s friends said they had no explanation for what happened last week.
Most people interviewed Tuesday said they weren’t aware of any problems the girl may have had with her father.
Some of the girl’s neighbours had told reporters there was conflict in the family because Noutene didn’t always want to pray with her family, who are Muslim. But several close friends disputed those statements Tuesday.
Longueuil police confirmed Tuesday that the death is not considered an honour crime, a term used to describe punishment meted out to those who fail to follow family customs or religious practices.
Xavier Audate, a family friend, said he never heard about violence in the Sidimé home.
“What happened to her is an injustice,” he said of Noutene. “She loved life and loved being on this Earth.”