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Home arrow Blog arrow September 2008 arrow September 5, 2008

September 5, 2008
WAWA Blog September 5, 2008: Lunch with Amy Goodman, the last time I saw Nick, and a Letter on Vanunu's Behalf



Nick honored his mother's request and moved with her back to her home town in Syria, just a few weeks after we met with Amy Goodman for lunch, in April of 2007.  


Nick phoned last night from his roof top apartment in Latakia, which overlooks the Mediterranean. He gave up brokering real estate in Fort Lauderdale to work sixteen hours a week for the British Council for Cultural Affairs. He takes the elevator to the first floor classrooms where he teaches English to university students and professionals; mostly by leading them in uninhibited renditions of Beatles songs. He had just returned from Beirut where he had been celebrating his 53rd birthday, and had not heard the news that on Labor Day, during the Republican National Convention, Amy Goodman was arrested on a misdemeanor and charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer because she questioned them about two of her Producers who were arrested and charged with a felony. The Democracy Now Producers were charged with probable cause to riot during the nonviolent Poor People's street demonstration, when apparently, a splinter march occurred. The high strung police decked out in full body armor, helmets face shields, batons and canisters of pepper spray charged the unarmed nonviolent marchers, onlookers and journalists into a nearby parking lot, then surrounded and handcuffed them.


Nick and I celebrated my 53rd birthday in Washington D. C. on January 27, 2007. We were two among half a million strong who encircled The Capital in a massed protest to demand Congress end the war and USA occupation of Iraq. The New York Times buried that story on page 26 and I do not know if they even reported that the anti-war marchers far outnumbered the Republican delegates in St. Paul, Minnesota.




Because I had made a substantial donation to LINK TV during one of Amy Goodman's 2007 pleas, I received an invitation to have lunch or dinner with Amy in New York City, just a few blocks from where I lived the first three years of my life; 424 Hudson Street in The Village. I hadn't walked that path in 50 years and was interested in doing it again and motivated to fill Amy in on what her 2004 interview with Mordechai Vanunu reaped him.


So, I asked Nick- a long time fan of Amy's with family on Long Island, if he wanted to meet for lunch in New York and hang out until I took the train to Jersey to visit my aunt, and Nick readily agreed to the plan. As I had suspected he would, Nick also monopolized the conversation with Amy.

Not until after I had cleaned my plate did I ask her, "Amy, have you heard that your 2004 interview with Vanunu was used as major testimony against him in a freedom of speech case that began the same day Hamas was democratically elected in January 2006?"



Amy hadn't heard about that or about my 2005 and 2006 video interviews with Vanunu that have been freely streaming on my site. Amy made notes in her Blackberry and I was feeling confident that when she did a follow up it would help prove how ludicrous and unjust it is for a democracy to deny a citizen the right to speak to anyone who happens to be a foreigner. Nick picked up the bill and after hugs all around, we committed to be at the Fire House Station before 6:30 AM the following day to watch Amy's taping. Nick and I then made our way to Hudson Street and he said, "She really seemed interested. I am sure she will call him."  




In 2004, Vanunu gave hundreds of interviews. In July 2007, he was convicted on 14 counts of violating the court order prohibiting him from speaking to any foreigners.

I last crossed paths with him a few weeks after the sentence came down and one of the first things I asked Vanunu was, "Did Amy Goodman call you?"

Vanunu replied, "She called me after the six month sentence was announced. I wouldn't talk with her and I am not talking with any media because they never helped me."




I crossed paths with Vanunu for the first time in June 2005. He told me about his childhood, time in the IDF, university activism and journey into Christianity. I was convinced that when American Christians learned his story, things would change for him and in the Holy Land. He had disbanded the USA Campaign to Free Vanunu in April after receiving word that the restrictions against him that deny his human rights were continued again as they have been every six months since. In October 2008, Vanunu returns to the Supreme Court in the ongoing battle to gain the right to leave the state which is all he has been asking to do, since his April 2004 release from 18 years in jail-most all in solitary-for documenting Israel's clandestine WMD facility in 1986.



On September 23, 2008 the final act in Vanunu's 2 ˝+ year long freedom of speech trial concludes. Nick wished me luck and hoped the Mossad wasn't too interested in me after I read him the following letter that I emailed and sent a paper copy of in Vanunu's behalf:


Dear Ms. Tsipi Livni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Daniel Friedman, Minister of Justice, and President Bush,
 
As a true friend to Israel [I tell the truth] and endorser of the Free Gaza Movement, I was greatly encouraged that despite threats and obstacles, a responsible decision was made by Israeli authorities not to interfere with "the imaginative engagement of dedicated private citizens to influence the struggle…for basic human rights, and awaken the conscience of humanity." [-Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the OPT, in reference to the FREE GAZA Movement]

In 2005, during my first of five trips to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, I met Mordechai Vanunu, and was inspired to listen to my conscience. Within weeks upon returning to America, I became a civilian journalist on the World Wide Web on a mission to raise awareness of the Christian Exodus from the Holy Land.

In 1985, Vanunu listened to his conscience and paid with 18 years in jail, most all of it in solitary. During those years the European Parliament, International Peace Bureau, Federation of American Scientists, American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship all called for his release on humanitarian grounds. Amnesty International has classified Vanunu as a prisoner of conscience. 

Since April 21, 2004, thousands of internationals have met Vanunu, who will speak of his "very poor life, without human rights" as a Christian held captive in Jerusalem who only seeks to leave Israel, not harm it.

Encouraged by thirty-six members of the House of Representatives, who in 1999, sent a letter to President Clinton calling for Vanunu's release from prison because they believed "we have a duty to stand up for men and women like Mordechai Vanunu who dare to articulate a brighter vision for humanity" and in support of freedom of conscience and speech I have been freely streaming 2005, 2006 and 2008 video interviews with Vanunu on my website, YOUTUBE and Goggle News.

2008 is also the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, upon which Israel's statehood was contingent upon upholding:

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. -Article 19

Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own-Article 13:2

A brighter vision for Israel and the world would also uphold Israel's own Declaration of establishment: "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 guarantee freedom of…religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations."

Vanunu, a Christian held captive in Jerusalem is denied the right to speak to any foreigners, yet his legend continues to grow by openly meeting tourists and pilgrims and inspiring the generation born since 1986.

Vanunu returns to court September 23, 2008. I hope to report that Israel did the humane, right and just thing and suspends his six month sentence with time all ready served.

In October, he faces the Supreme Court and may justice rule; human rights for Vanunu which will reap great public relations for Israel when Vanunu is allowed the opportunity to fade into history instead of continuing to make it.

Most Sincerely and in Solidarity with Micah 6:8,
Eileen Fleming,
Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" FREELY Streaming under Vanunu Archives:  http://www.wearewideawake.org/










 
   
 
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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

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BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

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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.

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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



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