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Home arrow Blog arrow October 2010 arrow October 9, 2010: John Lennon's 70th and the Vanunu Connection

October 9, 2010: John Lennon's 70th and the Vanunu Connection

October 9, 2013: John Lennon's 73rd, Vanunu's 59th and on with REVOLUTION

John Lennon could have celebrated his 73rd birthday this October 9th.
Israel's Nuclear Whistle Blower, Mordechai Vanunu will turn 59 on the 13th.

Every year since I first met Vanunu, in 2005, I have never wished him a "happy birthday" but his FINAL birthday denied the RIGHT to leave the "only democracy in the Middle East" with decades more in full freedom and good health.

During my first [soon to be eight] trip to Israel Palestine, Vanunu told me:

"I began my studies at Tel Aviv University when I was twenty-one. I studied physics until the army called me up for thirty days’ reserve service. When I returned to school, I couldn’t catch up. I worked in a bakery at night and attended class all day. This was the first time I met Palestinians as human beings. I began attending political demonstrations inside the university. It was all about equal human rights and respecting all others. By the time I was twenty-three, I began working at the Dimona. It was suppose to be a textile plant, but I was hired for the control room. At the time, I had no idea what it was in control of.

"I really didn’t even want the job; I tried to get them not to hire me. On the application, they asked if I knew any Palestinians. As I had an acquaintance, I said yes, hoping it would disqualify me from employment. They accepted me anyway. I watched them as closely as they watched me. I began studying philosophy and geography, and read literature."

I asked Vanunu, "Did you know the Beatles and Bob Dylan" because I am nine months older than he and both had been major influences on our generation.

Vanunu replied, "Sure, but I prefer classical. And I began wondering more about life and politics. I decided to become a hermit and vegetarian. I lived alone, but never was lonely. It wasn’t ever fun, but I enjoy the quiet. I was never sad, but never happy, either. After a year, I got bored with the routine job at the Dimona and wanted to leave. I went to Beersheba University and studied economics for a year. I became involved in university politics and in student unions. I was all about protecting Palestinian students’ rights. I sided with Palestinians more and more, and was invited to help establish a group of Palestinian and Jewish students for peace and justice. This was also the time I found out that it was dangerous for me to speak the truth. I was being watched, but I continued to express myself anyway.  After six months, I got called in by security at the Dimona, and they asked me, 'Can you imagine why you are here?'

"I answered, 'My university activity?' They then questioned me about all my contacts and told me to stop, because I was in danger. I told them I would try, but I knew I would continue on, because it was the right cause and I would not hide my thoughts.

"After five months, they called me in again and demanded that I stop my activities. A few months later, the chief security man took me to the Tel Aviv Secret Room, where the Israeli army security officer grilled me. They told me I could get fifteen years in prison if I didn’t stop my university activities. I left the meeting and walked to a Palestinian bookstore, knowing they were watching me. That night, I wrote in my diary, ‘1/85. I should have finished this job at Dimona before now. Time to quit.'"


In 2005, I was writing my first historical fiction, but I became a reporter AFTER and BECAUSE  Vanunu told me:

“Did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons? In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’

Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.

The French were responsible for the actual building of the Dimona. The Germans gave the money; they were feeling guilty for the Holocaust, and tried to pay their way out. Everything inside was written in French, when I was there, almost twenty years ago. Back then, the Dimona descended seven floors underground.

In 1955, Perez and Guirion met with the French to agree they would get a nuclear reactor if they fought against Egypt to control the Sinai and Suez Canal. That was the war of 1956. Eisenhower demanded that Israel leave the Sinai, but the reactor plant deal continued on.

When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.

Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year.

"In
1986, they started to produce the most horrible of all weapons; thermonuclear, in lying and in cheating the world and all of its citizens. So I said to myself it is impossible to keep these secrets.

"I must report about them and to try and stop it."



Ever since Vanunu emerged from 18 years behind bars to 24/7 surveillance, Israel has inflicted upon him the same restrictions that were implemented by Britain against Palestinians and Jews after World War II.

Attorney Yaccov Shapiro, who later became Israel's Minister Of Justice, described the Emergency Defense Regulations as "unparalleled in any civilized country: there were no such laws in Nazi Germany."


 

On 18 September 2004, in London, Yoko Ono awarded Vanunu a peace prize founded in memory of and in the spirit of John Lennon's "Give Me Some Truth" released in 1971. 


"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. I’ve had enough of reading things by neurotic psychotic pigheaded politicians all I want is the truth, just give me some truth."-John Lennon


The award was instituted in 2002, when Israeli Zvi Goldstein and Palestinian Khalil Rabah each won for artistic contributions to peace in their homeland. 


In 2004, 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.


In 2004, 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."

 


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." 
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Within minutes of emerging from his 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."

In 2005, Vanunu elaborated, "My Christian conversion was also considered as treason and led to me receiving more time in jail than any murderer has ever served. The Israelis have this very beautiful article about freedom and liberty but they want to destroy anyone who criticizes them for revealing the truth to the world. The world must look and see what kind of democracy Israel is when one speaks out the truth." 

When Vanunu was 9 his family moved from Marrakesh to settle in one of the over 400 ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages that have been 'wiped off the map' as America mourned the loss of President Kennedy.

Palestinian Loff of Land 1946 - 2011 

In the summer of ’66, a backlash in America against the Beatles began because John Lennon made a comment to a friend who was a reporter that the Beatles were more popular with my generation than Jesus was.

I agreed with him, for my friends and I knew every lyric to every Beatles song, but nobody ever quoted Jesus.


Lennon made me think about my own hypocrisy, and on a Saturday afternoon in July, immediately after the ritual of weekly confession while I knelt at the altar and mindlessly repeated the same old prayers as the week prior, in the middle of the three Our Fathers and ten Hail Mary's, it hit me like a light!


Those words that I uttered never changed anything, and I got up and walked out, convinced I was doomed for hell, for I had failed at Confession!

I never doubted there was a God, but as Lennon said and I still believe:

"That what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.

"Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.

"You're just left with yourself all the time, whatever you do anyway. You've got to get down to your own God in your own temple. It's all down to you, mate.

"All we are saying is give peace a chance.

"All you need is love.

"Imagine all the people living life in peace....and the world will be as one.

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination."


HOLD these truths to be self-evident: That all [people] are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights...that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among [people] deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the RIGHT of the people to ALTER or to ABOLISH it. -The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776


VANUNU’S WAIT for LIBERTY, Remembering the USS LIBERTY and My Life as a Candidate of Conscience for US HOUSE 2012

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IMAGINE album was released on October 8,1971




   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Published 10/30/10

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Vanunu's Message to

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UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa


“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
Establishment of Israel
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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