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 – Israel – CCLXVIII. A Permanent Job (6 of 12)

While the work may have been monotonous, the characters (and I am not excluding myself here) that played a role in the gig called Records were very gifted; it was mostly comedy, but with a bit of drama on the side!  And as we shall see, some of the individuals we will meet came from other departments.

I said that I helped another fellow that was responsible for the “Tools” section.  Meet Ozmo, an Egyptian that didn’t continually talk about the good old days of Egypt.  For Ozmo, life was good whether he was in Egypt or Israel.  He loved to eat and that showed on his girth.  His other passion in life was what he referred to as “gymnastique de chambre” or the type of gymnastic that took place between the sheets!  His favorite expression was: “ça vas ça vient ça fait du bien!”  (It comes and goes and it feels good!)

Ozmo was considered as a placid individual, who didn’t – couldn’t – rub another person the wrong way.  I agree with this assessment, but I will add that to find the real Ozmo you had to dig deeper.

He was the sweetest co-worker you could hope to meet; he was always willing to help.  Some issues in his work were beyond him, and yet he never quit trying.  And that alone endeared him to his superiors and his colleagues.

He cared for his family and was supporting his mother-in-law and an aunt that had nowhere to go.  He never once asked the souknout to help him even though he was the only one working in his household.

I always thought that when his time would come to be judged, nobody would bother looking at his file.  If Ozmo cannot get a pass, then heaven is a deserted place!

*  *  *

Sobhi looked as if he carried all the worries of the world on his shoulders.  He was the Parts Planner for “Tools.”

If you ordered too much, there would be no room in the stores to place them!  Too little and some of the workers would have to be sent home!  Special tools were another nightmare; they had to be ordered well in advance for often they had to be specially manufactured; also precise specifications were required.  All of that can be managed if the manufacturing side did their part, often they didn’t because they themselves were caught by surprise.

Sobhi was a frequent visitor.  He came to our section and studied our cards as if they were the pages of the bible!  He always asked us whether we were sure a given card reflected the true status of that item.  We assured him that it was so, but of course making allowances for errors.

This was a two-way street.  Either Ozmo or I went to see him with some cards; it happened when we felt the inventory of a certain article was getting low or that a special order was late.  In such cases, Sobhi checked his outstanding orders and either flew into a panic, or said, al tid’ag (don’t worry).

Sobhi was from Iraq, a country reputed for its culture, history, and hospitality.  When the parts planner demon absented himself, Sobhi was a pleasure to be with.  He often came to eat his lunch with us and we talked of various things.

Ben really liked him and often joined us.   He made sure to prepare coffee for all of us, and always lamented that it was not Turkish coffee, that would have been difficult to prepare in an office.

Ben lived in Lud (the city where IAI was situated); as it happened his house was right across the plant; and he often went home for lunch.  One day, he came back with a big thermos filled with Turkish coffee.  He shared it with his workers, and made sure to call Sobhi.

Conversations often centered on comparing Egypt with Iraq.  Now, Iraq was an ancient civilization, just as Egypt was.  But – and this according to Sobhi – Iraq could very well have been the location of the Garden of Eden!  Of course, Sobhi never backed that up with archeological discoveries, or even mystical support!  For, obviously, such “proof” did not exist.

Another argument was that Iraqi Jewry went back to Babylonian times, but the (modern) Jews have been in Egypt for less than 200 years.  Here it was no contest, and Sobhi was allowed to have the last word.

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