Mordechai Vanunu turns 61 on October 13. UK supporters will vigil for a Free Mordechai Vanunu on Saturday. Vanunu’s 8th Supreme Court appeal for his freedom was rescheduled from Sept. 21 to Oct. 26, 2015.
By Eileen Fleming
On Sunday Israel’s nuclear whistle blower, Mordechai Vanunu wrote at Facebook:
When they arrested me on Sep. 10, 2015…the media published old photos-not this one. Maybe they don’t like my cross. The next Supreme Court hearing will be Oct’ 26.
In a letter to The Guardian, Bruce Kent Vice-president, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, David Polden Secretary, London Region CND, Adeline O’Keeffe and Ernest Rodker wrote:
The campaign for Mordechai’s freedom will hold a vigil outside the Israeli embassy in London on Saturday 10 October, noon to 2pm, to celebrate his birthday and to share a birthday cake in his honour, and also to call for his 29 years of captivity in Israel to be ended so he can leave Israel with his Norwegian wife whom he married earlier this year.
Within minutes of emerging from his windowless tomb sized cell on 21 April 21 2004, Vanunu announced:
I am not harming Israel. I am not interested in Israel. I want to tell you something very important. I suffered here 18 years because I am a Christian, because I was baptized into Christianity. If I was a Jew I wouldn’t have all this suffering here in isolation for 18 years. Only because I was a Christian man.
My very first interview question to Vanunu was regarding his Christianity taped in June 2005:
John Lennon would have turned 75 this Oct. 9. In Ray Coleman’s biography of John Lennon, he quotes the artist circa 1969:
“I’d like to be like Christ, [he described himself as a Christian communist] in a pure sense, not in the way Russia or Italy think of Christianity or communism. Every body’s uptight and they’re always building these walls around themselves. All you can do is try to break down the walls and show them that there’s nothing there but people. I only know that peace can exist, and the first thing is for the world to disarm…I think I’ll win because I believe in what Jesus said.”
On 18 September 2004, in London, Yoko Ono awarded Mordechai Vanunu a peace prize founded in memory of and in the spirit of John Lennon’s “Give Me Some Truth”
“I’m sick and tired of hearing things from uptight short sided narrow minded hypocrites all I want is the truth, just give me some truth, all I want is the truth, just give me some truth.”-John Lennon, 1971
Ono also awarded $50,000 to New Yorker magazine correspondent and author Seymour Hersh, whom she described as “a staunch seeker of truth” for his investigative journalism. Ono was quoted by Reuters that Hirsh and Vanunu were honored as “people who have spoken out for the benefit of the human race by overcoming extreme personal difficulties and, in doing so, have allowed the truth to prevail. Hopefully [Vanunu] can come and receive the award himself. He did complete his sentence, it’s not as though he’s a criminal. The point is that it’s another statement, a statement that the whole world can share and think about. People power is stronger than the power of institutions.”
Ever since I met Vanunu, for his birthday I have always wished, hoped and prayed it will be his last birthday in captivity with decades more in full freedom, good health and great happiness.
This year I add how grateful I am for having documented the saga of Vanunu over the last ten years and for Vanunu gifting me with the highest compliment of my life when he said I was “always good to remind him of JC” [Jesus Christ].
The following regarding Vanunu and Jesus is excerpted from BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010
When I was in prison my mother came to me and told me that I was suffering because I was a Christian. I know I caused them a lot of pain and they have suffered because of my case. I forgive them even though they rejected me and my Christian faith. I have always thought for myself and made up my own mind.
I really had no idea what I was doing by getting baptized a Christian, I just felt like I had to do it. It was my way to be a new being. It wasn’t until after my trial that I started to read the New Testament. While I was in prison I would read aloud for ½ hour twice a day. I would read the entire New Testament and begin it again when I finished the Book of Revelation. I did this for me as well as for my captors. Not so much the prison guards but the ones who watched me on camera 24 hours a day.
The Shen Beet, you know like the FBI and the Mossad, like your CIA were watching me constantly. They tortured me by keeping a light on in my cell constantly for two years. They told me it was because they were afraid I would commit suicide, and the oppressive camera was for my safety. They recruited the guards and other prisoners to irritate me. They would deprive me of sleep by making loud noises near my cell all night long. I chose to read them 1 Corinthians instead.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with THE TRUTH! It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13
At the summit of the Mount of Olives there is much pavement, but not many trees. I found one cradling a few stone steps and sat down while Vanunu wandered about. After about ten minutes, Vanunu reappeared and I immediately asked him, “How was it being crucified for telling the truth?”
My human rights have been denied me because I am a Christian. When I was on trial I was treated just like a Palestinian; no human rights at all and cruel and unusual punishment, all because I told the truth. The government spread slander about me, that I was a homosexual, that I hated Jews, that I wanted fame and money. What I did was sacrifice my life for the truth. In prison I really began to feel like Jesus and Paul. When Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple, it was like me in Dimona exposing the Israelis’ dirty secrets. I felt like Paul being thrown in prison for speaking the truth.
The only real way to worship is in loving one’s enemies. It was not easy to love my tormentors, it was only because I felt so much like Jesus crucified on the cross, and me crucified in prison, that I could do it. It was not ever easy. I have forgiven but not forgotten anything and I never will.
In Israel, a life sentence is 25 years. Even murderers go free after 17. They imposed the same restrictions on me that Palestinians receive; no human rights at all. No phone, no visitors except family and only through an iron grill. No vacation, no holidays, no gifts. Even murderers get out for vacations! I was locked up for 18 years and still cannot go on vacation, I cannot leave and that is all I am asking, just to leave here.
For 18 years in prison they even attempted to control my thoughts on paper. I would write exactly what I wanted and they would censor words like ‘kidnapped’ and ‘atomic bomb.’ They would show me how they chopped up my letters, but I continued to write exactly what I wanted. They held my body, but never my spirit or mind.
The only way to peace is peace; the only way is non-violence. The only answer to Israeli nuclear weapons, their aggression, occupation and oppression, the wall and refugee camps is to answer them with truth and a peace-full voice. When I became the spy for the world I did it all for the people of the world.
If governments do not report the truth, if media does not report the truth, all we can do is follow our conscience. Daniel Ellsberg did, the woman from Enron did, and I did.
The USA needs to wake up and see the truth that Israel is not a democracy unless you are a Jew. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where America can right now find WMD’s. America can also find where basic human rights have been denied Christians, right here in Israel…….
In June 2009, during my seventh trip to Jerusalem, Vanunu told me more about why he had not written his own book. In 2004, a writer and he were meeting in the garden restaurant at the American Colony and working on his autobiography. But a Palestinian spy turned them in and the authorities threatened to arrest them both. Israel also threatened Vanunu with more jail time if he dared to seize his right to free expression by self-publishing anything without going through Israeli censors.
Earlier that day, I had asked Vanunu how he copes with the frustration of captivity and he said, “Opera. Opera. Opera. Opera inspires me, it gives me strength. When I was twenty-two I stopped listening to pop; The Beatles, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan. I like challenges and began listening to opera. It builds skyscrapers in my mind. Opera is nutrition for the brain. Opera enlarges and develops the brain. Opera speaks to my brain. Every morning I am in my room until eleven listening to opera. I find ways to enjoy myself as my way of resistance. I transform anger into positive energy.”
At that time Vanunu was also walking 2 ½ hours a day to the checkpoints he is denied the right to cross that lead to Bethlehem and Lazarus’ Tomb. Every Wednesday he would play coed volleyball and have dinner with his friends from the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City, where he had been a member for over three years ago. Every Sunday, he attended the English and then the German services because he liked the music. However by November 2009, Vanunu suffered another crisis of faith and isolated himself from that community.
On 11 November 2009, Vanunu emailed me his spin on 1 Corinthians:
1 FREEDOM 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not FREEDOM, I have become sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.
And if I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not FREEDOM, I am nothing.
And if I dole out all my goods, and if I deliver my body that I may boast but have not FREEDOM, nothing I am profited.
FREEDOM is long suffering, FREEDOM is kind, it is not jealous, FREEDOM does not boast, it is not inflated.
It is not discourteous, it is not selfish, it is not irritable, it does not enumerate the evil.
It does not rejoice over the wrong, but rejoices in the truth. It covers all things, it has faith for all things, it hopes in all things, it endures in all things.
FREEDOM never falls in ruins; but whether prophecies, they will be abolished; or tongues, they will cease; or knowledge, it will be superseded.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when the perfect comes, the imperfect will be superseded.
When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I reckoned as an infant; when I became an adult, I abolished the things of the infant.
For now we see through a mirror in an enigma, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know as also I was fully known.
But now remains faith, hope, FREEDOM, these three, but the greatest of these is FREEDOM. FREEDOM FREEDOM FREEDOM.
On 19 May 2015, Vanunu wed for the first time to Kristin Joachimsen a Professor at the Norwegian School of Theology, in the Old Testament Department. Joachimsen has filed all the required paperwork for Vanunu’s asylum to Norway. On October 26, Vanunu’s 8th Supreme Court petition to end all restrictions will be heard.
Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount innumerable times. During my first trip to both sides of The Wall in Palestine Israel, I spun that sermon into a Christian Manifesto for the 21st century and repeat it now:
About 2,000 years ago, when Jesus was about 33, he hiked up a hill and sat down under an olive tree and began to teach the people;
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
In other words: it is those who know their own spiritual poverty, their own limitations and ‘sins’ honestly and trust God loves them in spite of themselves who already live in the Kingdom of God.
How comforted we will all be, when we see, we haven’t got a clue, as to the depth and breadth of pure love and mercy of The Divine Mystery of The Universe.
God’s name in ancient Aramaic is Abba, which means Daddy, as much as Mommy and He/She: The Lord has said, “My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not yours.” -Isaiah 55:8
Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The essence of meek is to be patient with ignorance, slow to anger and never hold a grudge. In other words: how comforted you will be when you also know humility; when you know yourself, the good and the bad, for both cut through every human heart.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled.”
In other words: how comforted you will be when your greatest desire is to do what “God requires, and he has already told you what that is; BE JUST, BE MERCIFUL and walk humbly with your Lord.”-Micah 6:8
Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy.”
In other words: how comforted you will all be when you choose to return only kindness to your ‘enemy.’
“For with the measure you measure against another, it will be measured back to you” Christ warns his disciples as he explains the law of karma in Luke 6:27-38.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.”
In other words: how comforted you will be when you WAKE UP and see God is already within you, within every man, every woman and every child. The Supreme Being is everywhere, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Beyond The Universe -and yet so small; within the heart of every atom.
Jesus promised, “Blessed are The Peacemakers: THEY shall be called the children of God.”
And what a wonderful world it would be when we all seek peace by pursuing justice; for there can be none without the other.
I conclude with my ten year prayer for Godspeed on a Free Vanunu, a Middle East free of WMD and for a Free Palestine!
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