Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brody's Notes... Gay Irish Presidential Candidate Withdraws From Race After Scandal

Senator David Norris announcing his withdrawal from Irish presidential race.
Photo via The Irish Times
By Brody Levesque | DUBLIN, IRELAND -- In a press conference held on the steps of his Dublin townhome earlier today, openly gay Senator David Norris announced that he was withdrawing from the presidential election campaign, after scandal erupted stemming from disclosure of letters he wrote Israeli judicial authorities seeking clemency for his former partner who had been convicted of raping a 15 year old male Palestinian youth in 1997.
The Senator had been considered a favourite for election to the Irish presidency and had Mr. Norris been elected, he would have become the world’s second openly gay head of state.
Norris told the gathered media that he made a “human error” when he wrote a letter on his official Seanad Éireann letterhead paper seeking clemency from the Israeli authorities for his former lover, Ezra Yizhak Nawi Nawi.
He had an almost 30-year relationship with Ezra Yizhak Nawi and the pair remained together for four years after Nawi was convicted in 1997 of the statutory rape of the 15-year-old boy.
The story broke over the weekend, but campaign officials indicated that the Senator's decision to withdraw from the race came Monday after critical support from political allies, three prominent Independent TDs withdrew their pledge to support the Trinity Senator’s nomination.
Other members of the Dáil and Seanad who had pledged support for Mr Norris are also considering their position in the light of the disclosure that the Senator wrote a letter pleading for leniency for his former partner.
The Irish Times reported that in his statement this morning, Senator Norris said:
"I deeply regret the most recent of all the controversies concerning my former partner of 25 years ago, Ezra Yitzhak Nawi," he said. “The fallout from his disgraceful behaviour has now spread to me and is in danger of contaminating others close to me both in political and personal life.
It is essential that I act decisively now to halt this negative process. I do not regret supporting and seeking clemency for a friend, but I do regret giving the impression that I did not have sufficient compassion for the victim of Ezra’s crime," Mr Norris said.
"I accept that more than a decade and a half later when I have now reviewed the issue, and am not emotionally involved, when I am not afraid that Ezra might take his own life, I see that I was wrong. He served his time and never offended again. Yes, his actions were terrible, but my motivation to write the letter was out of love and concern. I was eager to support someone who has been very important and continues to be important in my life.
It is very sad that in trying to help a person I loved dearly, I made a human error."
After refusing to take press questions, he read a brief quote from Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet Samuel Beckett: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." After which Norris then indicated he would not be resigning his seat in the Seanad Éireann and retreated back into his home.


Trab said...

If we are to be condemned because we trusted and supported a loved one who committed a crime, we have a sad world. People are supposed to be rehabilitated by the punishments meted out by the courts, so why can't we believe that this has happened? And if it has, why should a supportive family member (and a person having a 30 year loving relationship is a family member even if not technically so) be condemned forever for being loving and caring. Would we expect this from a parent who has a criminal child; to be forever tainted with loving their errant offspring?