The Ezra I Knew: The Man with the Roses
Posted on: Saturday, August 8, 2009
By Jessi Roemer, MADRE supporter, cantorial soloist and writer.
I first knew Ezra Nawi as the man with the roses. He was not a florist. He was a plumber, a gentle Jerusalemite who would show up every Friday at French Square, his rucksack brimming with bouquets of long-stemmed roses. He would cross the moat of Friday traffic to where we stood: 20 or so women, wearing black and holding little hand-shaped signs that read, "Stop the Occupation" in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Smiling, Ezra would slowly circle the low wall on which we perched, stopping to hand a rose to each and every one of us.
In Jerusalem in the 1990s, this was the routine. Every Friday, we Women in Black would stand for an hour, holding signs, registering our protest. And every Friday, this smiling man would appear with his roses.
Years later, Ezra is now on trial for yet another peaceful act of protest. On July 22, 2007, as Israeli soldiers and bulldozers advanced on a Palestinian home in the West Bank, Ezra tried to prevent its demolition. With the family soon to be made homeless, he stood his ground and placed himself between the bulldozer and the home. This video shows what happened.
Following this so-called "crime," Ezra has been charged and found guilty of assaulting a police officer. On August 16th, he will be sentenced.
I had taken his weekly gift for granted. It was sweet, I knew. But I didn't understand, then, the tremendous generosity of spirit and political commitment that lay behind Ezra's simple, weekly act. Now, fifteen years later, I understand. And it doesn't surprise me to hear that he continues to act with the same generosity and commitment. It is shameful that his government imprisons him for standing peacefully with those most in need of defense. And it is upon us, the people whom he supported so lovingly all those years, to support him now.
Click here to find out how you can send a letter to the Israeli consulate calling for his release. To find out more about MADRE's long-standing work to demand an end to the occupation and to support women's health in Palestine, click here.
*Cross-posted on CommonDreams.org
Archives"Press Room" Home September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Breaking the gridlock of climate change negotiations: learning from allies (openDemocracy, September 29, 2014)
Peru TV slammed by UN as racial stereotypes paraded for cheap laughs (The Guardian, September 3, 2014)
In Iraq, women 'are the battlefield' (Women Under Siege , August 12, 2014)
Haitian woman faces death threats for speaking out about violence against women (WBEZ Worldview, July 16, 2014)
Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate (Uprising Radio, July 11, 2014)