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 – Italy – CCXVIII. Our Immigration Options (8 of 10)

An unexpected development

One day Mr. Levy brought us amazing news. The U.S. had opened its doors to the Egyptian refugees, and was willing to accept all those who qualified. But time was of the essence; this window of opportunity would soon close. We also had to go to Rome to apply.

Robert and I felt as if we had just won the lottery! My father, on the other hand, was not that excited. Neither was my mother elated at the prospect of being received by Uncle Sam.

At any rate, dad said that he would discuss it with mom and sleep on it.

When Nessim informed us of his decision, all hell broke loose. Dad has had enough and was not willing to wait for yet another visa which may or may not come.

A few times we had to leave the confines of the Vranichichi household for there were fierce arguments. Eventually, my father relented, but he put two conditions.

First, he would not go to Rome to apply, it would be up to the two of us to go and complete the necessary formalities. But, of course, he would cooperate. We were fine with that.

Second, he would wait for two months and no more; if the visa didn’t arrive by then, we would leave for Israel. We agreed to that too.

Before going to Rome, let us consider the dynamics of that whole situation.

Nessim had two adults children to deal with. He certainly could not ignore their wishes. Therefore, even if he was no longer willing to wait, he had to take us into consideration. And that indeed was what happened here. I do not doubt that my mother had some influence on him, for she was often the voice of reason in the family.

If I try to go back in time, but with the benefit of my present maturity, I can fully understand dad’s position.

He had tried to establish himself in Italy, but that did not prove possible. He had waited patiently for the Australian visa, but again he was denied. He had briefly considered Canada, despite the brutal weather, but never got a response. Finally, he was 46, and did not feel that the U.S.A. would necessarily be the land of eternal felicity; therefore, his optic was bound to be different from that of his two young children.

Now let us look at Israel. Yes, conditions were difficult, but the state provided you with a lot of help until you established yourself.

Israel was in the Middle-East, and many Egyptians have recreated a mini-Egypt and kept a lot of their traditions. There would be more than enough friends to socialize with and perchance organize the odd poker game.

Uncle Joseph never considered anything beside Israel. He had two young children (3 and 5) and didn’t need their agreement! Therefore, together with his wife, two children, and aunt Angéle, he arrived in Genoa, went to the Jewish Agency, and asked to go to Israel. As soon as space was available on a departing ship, he left for the Holy Land.

Uncle Maurice had left for Palestine back in the 1920s! He knew the country well, was ready to assist us in any way he could, and was dreaming of the day when he would again be reunited with the members of his family.

What I am saying was that Nisso had all his siblings there, and must have often wondered why  he was wasting his time in Italy chasing futile dreams.

Fifty-five years ago I could not reconcile my views with that of my father; today, I can easily do so. Belatedly, in the context of this narrative, I appreciate what my father did for his children at a trying time in his life.

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