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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

We who Are Wide Awake are compelled by the "fierce urgency of Now" [Rev MLK, Jr.] to raise awareness and promote the human dialogue about many of the crucial issues of our day: the state of our Union and in protection of democracy, what life is like under military occupation in Palestine, the Christian EXODUS from the Holy Land, and spirituality-from a Theologically Liberated Christian Anarchist POV.

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We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, 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. -July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence


Home arrow Blog arrow June 2009 arrow June 16, 2009: A Sunday with Vanunu

June 16, 2009: A Sunday with Vanunu
June 16, 2009: A Sunday with Vanunu 

Occupied East Jerusalem, June 15, 2009- Mordechai Vanunu and I, first crossed paths on the first day of summer in 2005, which was five days before my return to the USA from my first 16 Days in Israel Palestine .


On the last evening of my seventh trip to occupied east Jerusalem on June 15, 2009, Vanunu and I had a drink at the American Colony. Vanunu had a Taybeh beer, which is produced in the last remaining self-sufficient and last remaining Christian village in the entire West Bank.


I ordered a Vodka tonic and Vanunu warned me, that I should never have more than one shot a day. I replied, it was only my first and I had my last in the taxi on my way to Ben Gurion Airport. I knew it would be hours before I cleared SECURITY and the game we played  had gotten tiresome for me- and I imagine it a death unto them who make a paycheck for interrogating those who are Telling the Truth at Ben Gurion...




For the first eight days of my ten day trip, I was embedded with CODE PINK activist's, but missed their June 14th demonstration during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at Tel Aviv University against Israel’s invasion of Gaza, illegal settlements and the apartheid wall.


"Heavy handed police treatment of the CODEPINK: Women for Peace delegation began immediately after members of the group unfurled several pink banners that read “Free Gaza” and “End the Occupation.”  CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and New York activist Zool Zulkowitz were physically dragged across the street…A French journalist who was a member of the CODEPINK delegation, was arrested as she crossed a small street in an attempt to take photos of the demonstration…Israeli police and military violently shoved the group back into a wall. Delegation member Tighe Barry from Santa Monica, California was struck in the face with the butt of a military rifle and pushed to the ground…he was treated for a concussion, an injured neck and an asthma attack.


"When President Obama spoke in Cairo on June 4, a separate CODEPINK delegation that had just returned from six days in Gaza in early June, held a demonstration right outside Cairo University holding signs that read “Stop funding Israeli War Crimes.”  Egyptian police allowed the demonstration to take place.

“Is this the great democracy that the
U.S. taxpayers pay for with $3 billion dollars a year?” cried Medea Benjamin as she was being dragged away by the police."- Ann Wright, retired US Army Reserves Colonel, former U.S. diplomat, CODE PINK activist who has visited Gaza three times in the past three months, co-leading two delegations of over 120 committed justice and peace activists.


Although I missed all that action, I had the blessed opportunity to reconnect with Vanunu after suffering a major failure of communication last year; and now, that is all water under the bridge.


Vanunu admitted, "I was isolating myself from my supporters" but the times have changed and he is meeting with anyone who stops by his table between the hours of 3-5 PM, in the garden restaurant of the American Colony, in occupied east Jerusalem. I arrived at 5:30 to attend a book reading with him and he informed me that Tony Blair had rented the entire second floor for one million a year and Jimmy Carter was at the moment having a meeting with Uri Avnery and Adam Keller.


Vanunu was smiling and hesitant when he said, "I have to ask you something that I thought sometimes. That you were FBI or CIA. With all these things you write, I thought someone else is telling you to write all these things."


I laughed out loud- but not surprised- and replied, "In a way, someone does tell me what to write down. I only write what I hear in my heart and that is where I hear God; what ever He-She is, I don't know, but I have no doubt That Mystery is guiding me. Everything is connected and God is within every situation."


Vanunu leaned back and scanned the garden, then leaned in and said, "I don’t really know you."


I laughed again and replied, "Anyone can. Just read KEEP HOPE ALIVE."


The day before, I had given him a copy inscribed that he appears on page 102 and throughout Chapter 11, and I speak through Jack, Jake, Terese, Brother Harold, Kat and Riad.


However, it was Vanunu who inspired me to became a citizen journalist, and three weeks after my first trip to occupied east Jerusalem I established my website and have been reporting from day one of Vanunu's historic FREEDOM of SPEECH trial in the 'democracy' of Israel which began on January 25, 2006.


On July 2, 2007, Israel sentenced Vanunu to six months in jail for speaking to foreigners-who happened to be media- in 2004.


Vanunu began talking the day he emerged from 18 years in a tomb sized cell, on April 21, 2004. He was sentenced for treason, but all he did was tell the truth and provide the proof that Israel had already manufactured of upwards of 200 nuclear warheads by 1985.


Two days before President Bush's first trip to Israel, and a day before Vanunu's appeal was to begin, Israel sentenced him to community service. Israel does not recognize occupied East Jerusalem as part of their community, but it is the only neighborhood that Vanunu has lived since April 21, 2004.


Israel denied Vanunu the right to serve the sentence in his own community, but on September 23, 2008, the Jerusalem District Court announced:


"In light of (Vanunu's) ailing health and the absence of claims that his actions put the country's security in jeopardy, we believe his sentence should be reduced."


Reuters quoted his attorney, Michel Sfard, "Vanunu was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court of 15 violations of a military order prohibiting him from talking to foreign journalists and leaving Israel.  The original indictment included 22 different violations of the order, but during the trial the State Prosecutor's Office submitted an amended indictment, and he was eventually charged with 19 violations and was acquitted of four. According to the indictment, Vanunu held conversations with foreign journalists and provided them with news and details on Israel's nuclear reactor. He was acquitted of speaking to foreign nationals on the internet and via video and voice chats…Since his release Vanunu has campaigned for the Jewish state to be disarmed while denying Israeli officials' charges that he has more secrets that he could divulge if allowed to emigrate. We should be clear here that Vanunu was convicted for the very act of speaking to non-Israelis, rather than the content of those conversations. We do not consider this appropriate for a democracy in the 21st century." [1]


November 24th, 2006 Vanunu wrote:

"My lawyer succeeded to reveal a few very important facts:

1. This General of the Army also was not allowed to see all the secrets that he is required to protect by these restrictions that they claim I know them. So, he gave orders of restrictions without knowing what he is protecting or that he is also following orders blindly, and Mossad Sheen Bet using its authority for just punishing me.
2. He testified that it is not a crime for me to talk with foreigners in general anywhere.
3. He testified that I can speak freely to any Israeli citizens about anything; it is not his concern what I am saying to them. These Israelis can give this information to any foreigners. It was difficult for the Judge to understand why this dichotomy exits between foreigners and Israelis. It means that it is not about secrecy but about something else."


Something else indeed, is how Vanunu has endured the last twenty-three years: 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."


Vanunu also vents his righteous rage in daily 2 ½ hour walks during the most brutally hot hours of the day as he travels the streets of occupied East Jerusalem to the checkpoints at Bethlehem, Qalandyia and Lazarus' Tomb.


Every Wednesday he plays coed volleyball and has dinner with the community of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City, where he has been a member for the last three years. Every Sunday, Vanunu attends the English and then the German service because he likes the music.


I attended both services with him and then we had lunch on the roof of Papa Andreas restaurant. I reminded Vanunu of the lunch we had there last November on the final day of Sabeel's Nakba Conference: Read more...



Vanunu had consented to give a video interview update, but he was a no show on the roof where the videographer had set up to tape. Vanunu now admitted, "I was isolating myself from my supporters…I have felt bitter and held a grudge. But I realized that is not helping me. I am pragmatic and I will do what serves me and others.


"They renewed the restrictions to not speak to foreigners until November. I meet foreigners every day. I am talking with people every day. But I am not writing or announcing the appeal until after it happens. It was scheduled for January, then May 6th and June 18th. Now I am waiting for a new court date.


"The Central Commander of the General Army testified in court that it is OK if I speak in public as long as I do not talk about nuclear weapons.


"I think the court will realize even if they send me back for three months-what will they do after that?


"It is all about freedom of speech and they cannot keep me here forever…They want revenge because I survived the system…The isolation in prison made me feel like I was loosing my mind. I felt like I was dieing.


"Jesus Christ's strong message to the Israelis of 2,000 years ago is that they were wrong in rejecting him. By going to church I am reminding Israel of JC. JC and I both did a good job for humanity.


"Obama needs to wake up and talk and walk. But America has lost eight years. America needs to free itself from the Israeli state. Five million Jews should not dictate to America what they shall do.


"The USA needs to wake up from 9/11. That was when America lost her way."



Read More: THAT DAY and This 9/11




In the mail to Cindy/Cheryl, President Obama and President Carter are a few of my photos attached to the letter I mailed them and published on June 23, 2009


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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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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 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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