Small flowers

The day Messod Wizman and his wife Michal, whom I had grown up with in Morocco, were buried in Jerusalem.

February 9, 2016 22:05
2 minute read.
Dafna Meir

Dafna Meir . (photo credit: Courtesy)

As Dafna Meir lay surrounded by her family on a cold and cruel Monday morning, my thoughts went back to another cruel day in 2011.

The day Messod Wizman and his wife Michal, whom I had grown up with in Morocco, were buried in Jerusalem.

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Their lives had been snuffed out by a terrorist attack in Marrakech. As with Dafna’s family, left behind are children, parents and extended family so heartbroken and torn that words cannot express the grief. As I type these words, my fingers fail me, the sorrow is excruciating.

The years pass, some of us have found relief in faith, in platitudes like “we survived Pharaoh, we’ll survive this.” Jewish culture is littered with survival stories, of overcoming almost impossible odds. But none of that will ever change the fact that I miss Messod and would trade all the clichés and stories in the world to see him and his beautiful wife walk down the street to say hello on a warm spring Shabbat evening.

Unfortunately, Messod’s story, today, like Dafna’s, one day will be but a crack in the pavement, like all the other cracks, whether they are called Charlie Hebdo, Hyper Cacher, whether they happen in Marseilles, Marrakech or Madrid. They have become constant in our lives; every day there is a new rocket, a new stabbing, a threat, an insult.

I don’t even watch the news anymore, but they still find a way to reach me, on the radio, on a passing screen or newspaper story.

With each story, the ongoing realization that I live in a world whose heart is closed to my suffering. Here in Montreal, in front of a library a man holds a sign with the words “Israel = Apartheid,” the perpetrators of Messod and Michal’s murderer are given the world’s attention to talk about conspiracies and vengeance, the father of the young Palestinian who killed Dafna talks boastfully of his son’s actions.

The world stays silent, as we allow the voice of hate to overcome the voice of humanity.

I do not hate them or their silence; I cannot allow myself to feel hate.

Instead I’ve decided to turn my ears toward the voice of moderate Palestinians and Arabs that talk of coexistence while risking their lives and reputations.

I will brandish their message for the future, I will spread their words like mine. As the years pass I feel their presence carry my sorrow to a better place, a peaceful place full of hope and love.

I know that like the victims of terrorist crime, their voices are buried under the concrete of extremism.

Here in Montreal, in the summer, I can see small flowers break through the pavement when spring comes around, and I marvel at how a small, fragile flower can grow through layers upon layers of pavement.

Even if we can’t bring Messod or Dafna back, we can help the myriad of small flowers emerge from the shadow of hate. The cracks, like the sadness will still be here, but I look forward to the day where the flowers have covered them up completely.

The author is a writer based out of Montreal, Canada. He grew up in Morocco before moving back to North America, where he has studied history and anthropology at Concordia University.

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