By Eileen Fleming
Exclusive to The Arab Daily News
Fifteen years ago Reverend Dave Smith established The Order of Fighting Fathers a global group of priests and regular people, committed to Fighting the Good Fight against injustice, prejudice, drugs and poverty, by challenging and encouraging each other to spread the truth in love in the struggle for justice across the web and around the world.
On Monday, Smith wrote, “Our episode of ‘Compass’ was screened on October 26, 2014. It offers a broad retrospective on my life and work, with a special focus on my relationship with Morde Vanunu and on the role of the Fight Club. Apparently we scored the biggest ‘viewer share’ for Compass for the year with this episode…”
VIEW it on YouTube HERE
Eleven minutes into the show, Smith speaks about his friendship with Vanunu, which began nearly three decades ago on the night Vanunu wandered into Kings Cross Church in Sydney, Australia.
Smith maintained his friendship with Vanunu during his 18 years behind bars by writing him monthly and greeting him moments after Vanunu emerged from behind bars on 21 April 2004.
In December 1998, Rev. David B. Smith, compiled, formatted and published LETTERS FROM SOLITARY: Letters from Mordechai Vanunu to David Smith
In the Introduction Smith wrote:
“I first met Morde late on a Friday night. We were running a little coffee-shop-type setup outside the church building in Kings Cross and Morde just wandered in…
“His English was not terrific, but we managed some pretty serious conversation at our first meeting.
“Morde had recently completed studies at university. I had completed university just before entering seminary.
“Morde had been studying philosophy. I had just completed my honours degree in philosophy!
“Morde’s interest had been in existentialism. Mine had been also!
“Morde’s chief figure of interest was Nietzsche – the belligerent German atheist. Mine was Kierkegaard – the eccentric Christian preacher. Morde had read Kierkegaard, and my first introduction to Kierkegaard had been in a course comparing him to Nietzsche. We found we had plenty to talk about.
“It was a curious scene that developed that night. Two figures in the middle of the Cross, locked in passionate discussion about theories of meaning and existence.
“In Morde’s broken English we managed to discuss Nietzsche’s concept of ‘staring into the abyss’ of your life and embracing your despair, and Kierkegaard’s optimistic alternative – throwing yourself into the abyss and finding that the abyss is God and is able to support you.
“At the time my own faith was deeply intertwined with these concepts. For Morde though, I don’t think I realized exactly how much was at stake in his thinking until much further down the track.
“Some months later Morde would embrace the Christian faith, and let go of much of his former life. At an academic level he was also very self-consciously embracing Kierkegaard and rejecting Nietzsche. This is significant, for Kierkegaard was always on about taking ‘risks’, or ‘leaps of faith’, as he would call them.
“The one complete work of Kierkegaard that had been translated into Hebrew, and which Morde had read, was his eulogy on Abraham, entitled ‘Fear and Trembling’.
“In it Kierkegaard reflects on Abraham’s call to go and sacrifice his son Isaac. How can this be right, when it seems to be a betrayal of his family, and is contrary to his reason and even to his conscience? Yet Abraham knows that this is what he has been called to by God, and so he sets out upon his task, albeit with ‘fear and trembling’.
“Morde would make his own leap of faith. He would come to the front of St John’s church and say out loud ‘Now I give myself to God. Now I do what I must do.’ True to the Kierkegaardian spirit, Morde made his decision alone.
“It has been extraordinary to read and hear some of the things people have said about Morde – that he was a ‘professional spy’, a ‘trained terrorist’, a ‘brilliant con-man’.
“How much time did such people spend actually trying to get to know the guy? ‘For God’s sake’ I feel like shouting ‘this man is my friend. You obviously don’t know him at all.’
“As clever as Morde was (and is) at an academic level, when it came to the subtle art of spying, Morde was downright naive!
“I’ll never forget the incident at the airport where Morde misplaced the bag with the entire collection of Dimona photos! Where had he put it?
“It was found at the top of the escalators, where he had left it when he went to check in! Not exactly the behavior of a professional secret agent.
“The naiveté was evident too in the matter of the money he was supposed to be paid. ‘They say they are going to pay me something for the photos’ he told me one Sunday morning. He added ‘I will give the money to the church here and it will help in the ministry.'”
On 30 September 1986, Mossad agents kidnapped Vanunu from Rome before he had a chance to sign a contract with London’s SUNDAY TIMES
On 27th February 1987, Vanunu wrote from solitary:
“Now I know that my task in this world is to devote myself for working and helping other people, and my task here in Israel is to show that I was born Jewish but I find that JC is our savior. This will not make my life easy here but this faith will keep me strong and make my suffering bearable.
“Yet I am not allowed to see a priest. They cannot succeed to take from me one of the most important human rights in a democratic country.
“Next week is the trial. I am not worried or afraid because I know what I did and I know who I am. I believe that what happens to me is God’s will, and I will wait for my release.
“I don’t know a lot about what is going on outside the prison because they keep me isolated. Even my lawyer I see only one time a week, and my brothers every two weeks for one half hour. My parents came to see me one time; they didn’t like my faith. I think someone sent them to me because I know my parents. I am a Christian; they will not come to see me again. I have sorrow for them, but as Jesus said, who wants me must leave his parents and follow me. My brothers are not concerned about my faith.
“Everyone wants to know why I became a Christian and I send them to learn of Kierkegaard’s philosophy. There I find love and Jesus, and everyone has to open his heart to find this love, and then Jesus will be wherever we might be.”
On 5 June 1987, Vanunu wrote:
“I am spending 24 hours every day alone in a cell reading the Bible and other books. Praying every morning and evening, and trying to know more of God’s words. Here I am alone in my faith but by reading the New Testament I feel encouraged, and it gives me strength.
“The life of the Lord JC is the way I am following, and his words to the Jews are what I can say to the Jews here today.
“I feel that the spirit of God is with me all the time, and now here he keeps me alive and gives me the power to stand in this country, and to say the Lord JC is the truth.”
On November 27, 1987, Vanunu wrote:
“But now I know that all that they want is to break my faith, my soul, to separate me from my brothers in Christ. So I have to be more concerned about what they are doing. And be stronger in my faith and keep my faith deep in my heart with me here in my small cell.
“God called me to know him and to be his servant and I accept his mission. All what I have done is from my conscience.
“I did my decision alone by the voice of God who called me in my heart.
“And the same thing happened with my action against nuclear weapons. From the beginning it has come to me from my belief from inside – my values, my respect for the human being and the human right.
“And of course everyone knows and understands all about nuclear weapons – the new holocaust that is hanging over our lives.”
On 28 January, 1989, Vanunu wrote:
“I was not a spy.
“And the people here and in all the world have the right to know what their Government has been hiding from them in the nuclear issues.
“I am not guilty. I did my duty. If I did not have this information, I could not publish it, but God chose those who will do his mission. I believe that I served God’s mission…to do peace, to make the people aware of the nuclear holocaust…
“No one can change this truth and no one can change my faith and my mind.”
In this excerpt from 30 Minutes with Vanunu, Mordechai addresses State Torture by Solitary Confinement
Twenty minutes into the “Compass” documentary, Smith invokes “the name of God” as the solitary Establishment Christian at a FREE GAZA demonstration “with RESPECT to the traditional custodians of the land” as he wondered how his peers can remain mute before moving onto Syria, “with religion and sport”.
Learn more about Smith and his vision for the Children of Syria Boxing for Peace HERE
Contact Vanunu through his website HERE
In 2005, Eileen Fleming established WeAreWideAwake.org in response to her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall as a public service.
Eileen is the Administrator for FREE VANUNU and TNT/Telling Nuclear Truths
Her fifth book, The Vanunu Legend Israel’s Nuclear Whistleblower’s Struggle for Freedom was published 24 September 2014 as a FREE Ebook.