Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CLXXI. The Second Exodus (6 of 6)

Over the years, our arrival in Alexandria was a joyous occasion; we were here to enjoy the summer in this beautiful city and to spend time with mom’s family. Obviously, this time we were reunited for a sad occasion.

Gone were the laughter and the expansive ahlan wou sahlan (welcome). They were replaced with tears and long discussions about future plans.

Aunt Linda and her family had left for Israel before the Suez Canal Crisis. Aunt Rachel and uncle Daniel were soon going to leave for Israel. Uncle Maurice was eventually going to Italy to rejoin his brothers-in-law who had an established business in Italy and Switzerland. As for nonna Bida, it was not clear whether she could secure a visa to immigrate to Italy. (She did eventually rejoined her two daughters, Rachel and Linda, in Israel. She also spend time with us when we eventually came to Israel).

The night before our departure, we slept by Rachel and Daniel. This in effect was our last night in Egypt.

It was already late evening (on this December 29, 1956) when we went to the port to board our ship; the Aeolia was leaving late at night. Maurice came with us and brought a fair bit of cash with him. Why?

Officials were bound to find to find “gaps” in the documentation that required “extra” payments. Such payments could not be made out of the meager amounts of money we were allowed to take, and therefore they were made by Maurice.

Uncle Maurice was the last relative we saw in Egypt; with tears in his eyes, he bid us goodbye. And that was the last time we saw him.

If you’ve ever been on a cruise, do not equate your cabin and ship with the Aeolia. The cabin was tiny and had bunk beds. But it was the small ship that did me in. I was sick as a dog and could barely eat. Eventually, I listened to my father, got out of the cabin and went up in the fresh air; and up to a point, it helped.

It was late at night when the ship finally departed. Therefore, we could not even take one last look at the country of our birth.

I could tell you that the tears were streaming down my cheeks, that my heart was breaking, but that would be waxing poetic and would not be true. I was neither sad nor happy. I knew that I was leaving a part of my life behind; what would follow was totally unknown. I did not speculate, and that was wise. Today, when most of the pieces of the puzzle are in place, I realize that on that fateful night, I could have never imagined all the twists and turns my life would take.

Before leaving, we were required to sign a declaration referred to as “Aller Sans Retour.” (Leaving and Never Coming Back). Thus, I assumed that I would never again see my natal country. But, I was wrong, I did come back for a visit, albeit many years later.

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