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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2009 arrow June 19, 2009

June 19, 2009
June 19, 2009: This, That and The Wall 
Just weeks after his FREEDOM OF SPEECH TRIAL began Vanunu sent this 1:19 minute message to Senator Clinton and USA Christians Excerpted from "30 Minutes with Vanunu" freely streaming @ VANUNU ARCHIVES: WeAreWideAwake


The following is excerpted from Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory

Chapter 3: This, That and The Wall

“On March 10, 1948, in Tel Aviv, eleven men had a meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion. The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine. No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns.”-Dr. Ilan Pappe.

Dr. Ilan Pappe is Israeli born and a graduate of Hebrew University and Oxford who teaches at Haifa University. He is a well known revisionist or “post-Zionist” Israeli historian who has been both acclaimed and demonized. His most recent work is A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples which documents the expulsion of Palestinians as an orchestrated crime of ethnic cleansing.

On Nov. 8, 2006, on the seventh day of Sabeel’s 6th International Conference; The Forgotten Faithful, Dr. Pappe spoke to over 330 International ecumenical Christians in the Ramallah Cultural Palace. His topic was the “Dynamics of Forgetting” and because of the “fierce urgency of now” [Rev. MLK, Jr.] the world is beginning to remember that once there was a Red House, where a most diabolical plan was hatched.

Dr. Pappe informed the crowd, “The Red House in Tel Aviv is gone now. It was a typical building in Tel Aviv that had all the characteristics of Mediterranean homes but with the local Palestinian architecture of the ‘20’s. Today a USA Sheraton Hotel stands in its place. The Red House was the home of the Hagganah; a Jewish underground organization but before 1948 it was the home of a socialist movement, from which it received its name.”

Haganah is Hebrew for “The Defense” and was a Jewish paramilitary organization formed in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. It began as a small group of “Jewish immigrants who guarded settlements for an annual fee. At no time did the group have more than 100 members until after the Arab riots of 1920 and 1921. The Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British, whom the League of Nations had given the Mandate of Palestine in 1920, had no desire to confront the Arabs about attacks on the Palestinian Jews, and thus created the Haganah to protect their farmers and settlements. The initial role of the Haganah was to guard the Jewish Kibbutzim and farms, and to warn the residents of and repel attacks by Palestinian Arabs.

In the period between 1920 and 1929, the Haganah lacked a strong central authority or coordination. Haganah “units” were very localized and poorly armed: they consisted mainly of Jewish farmers who took turns guarding their farms or their kibbutzim. Following the Arab 1929 Hebron massacre that led to the ethnic cleansing by the British authorities of all Jews from the city of Hebron, the Haganah’s role changed dramatically. It became a much larger organization encompassing nearly all the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements, as well as thousands of members from the cities. It also acquired foreign arms and began to develop workshops to create hand grenades and simple military equipment. It went from being an untrained militia to a capable army.”

The British did not officially recognize the Haganah,but the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Auxiliary Forces and Special Night Squads. By 1931, the most right-wing elements of Haganah branched off and formed Irgun Tsva’i-Leumi (the National Military Organization), better known as “Irgun” (or by its Hebrew acronym, pronounced “HaEtsel”). The members were discontented with the policy of restraint when faced with British and Arab pressure and “terrorists” in their own right. Irgun later split in 1940, and their off-shoot became known as the “Lehi” (Hebrew acronym of Lochamei Herut Israel, standing for Freedom Fighters of Israel, and also known by the British as the “Stern Gang” after its leader, Abraham Stern. Because the British severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, in 1939 the Haganah created the Palmach - the Haganah’s strike force, which also organized illegal Jewish immigration of over 100,000 Jews to Palestine.

In 1944, in response to the assassination of Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East, by members of the Jewish Lehi underground, the Haganah worked with the British to round up, interrogate, and, in some cases, deport Irgun members. This action was called the Saison (or hunting season), and seriously demoralized the Irgun and reduced its activities.

But, the Saison could not stop the Irgun, Haganah and the Stern Group from working together. The three groups had different functions, which served to move the British out of Palestine and to make Palestine a Jewish state rather than create a Jewish home in Palestine.
Menachem Begin, an Irgun commander, stated in a 1944 meeting: “In fact, there is a division of roles; one organization advocates individual terrorism (the Lehi), the other conducts sporadic military operations (the Irgun) and there is a third organization which prepares itself to throw its final weight in the decisive war.”   

Dr. Pappe’s opening remark on November 8, 2006, still sends chills though me, “On March 10, 1948, eleven men had a fateful meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion. The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine. No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns.

“The New York Times followed Israeli troops and reported the truth of the expulsion and separation of men and women, and of the many massacres. The world was well informed in 1948, but a year later not a trace was reported in the USA press or books. It was as if nothing ever happened.

“From March to October 1948 the USA State Department stated what was happening was a crime against humanity and ethnic cleansing. When ever one ethnic group expels another group they should be treated as War Criminals and the victims should be allowed to return. This is never mentioned in the USA about Palestine.

“Israel is so successful in their ethnic cleansing because the world doesn’t care! The ethnic cleansing continues via the apartheid policies of the Israeli government and because of the denial of the truth by the USA media.

“To claim Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is bullshit! The Six Day War of 1967 escalated the ethnic cleansing and today in Jerusalem every Palestinian who fails to pay taxes, or has a minor infraction will loose their citizenship.

“In 1948 the mechanism of denial and ethnic cleansing as an IDEOLOGY, not a policy but a formula began. When Zionism began in the 19th century it was meant to be a safe haven for Jews and to help redefine Judaism as a national movement, not just a religion. Nothing wrong with either of those goals! But by the late 19th Century it was decided the only way these goals could be achieved was by ridding the indigenous population and it became an evil ideology.

“Israeli Jewish life will never be simple, good, or worth living while this ideology of domination, exclusiveness and superiority is allowed to continue. The mind set today is that unless Israel is an exclusive Jewish State, Palestinians will continue to be obstacles. However, there has always been a small vocal minority challenging this.

“The only thing that can save Palestinians is for the world to say “ENOUGH is ENOUGH!” The way to challenge and change the ethnic cleansing is to pursue true democracy and the use of sanctions and divestment, for money talks.”

Since 1948, USA taxpayers have provided nearly 100 Billion dollars to Israel. However, America’s $84.8 billion in aid to Israel just from fiscal years 1949 through 1998, and the interest the U.S. paid to borrow this money, has cost U.S. taxpayers $134.8 billion, not adjusted for inflation.

The original hope of Zionism was that the Jewish people would have a safe and peaceful dwelling place. Jews remain a traumatized people and their Holocaust hangover affects all of us. For millennia the Jewish people have been threatened and oppressed, but in the 21st century, they have become the oppressors. In the 60’s the comic strip Pogo critiqued Vietnam, and the words still echo four decades later, “We have seen the enemy and he is US.”

If America had forced Israel to abide by International Law and not supplied billions of weapons of destruction at bargain basement prices and financial aid, Israel would have made peace with her neighbors long ago. A safe and peaceful dwelling place cannot be had through the barrel of a gun. Nonviolent Palestinians must be supported and encouraged, and all violence must be unequivocally renounced. During World War II the Nazis cold bloodedly murdered six million innocent Jews because good people did nothing for far too long. Afterwards, the UN, the USA, and the European states decided to create a Jewish state in Palestine.

In 1947, with the termination of the British Mandate and rising violence and terrorism between Jews and Palestinians, the UN called for a Jewish-Arab partition of Palestine. Neither side liked the deal, but the secular Zionists jumped at the chance while the Palestinians and Arabs opposed it, citing the injustice of demanding Palestinians pay for Hitler’s atrocities.

Israel proclaimed it’s independence in May 1948 by affirming: “One 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.”

Britain withdrew from the land and war erupted. The well equipped Israeli forces created a triumph for the Jews and birthed the ongoing disaster for Palestinians and the world. Over 750,000 Palestinians became refugees and the roots of 21st century terrorism began. There is one small piece of property that two peoples who have been victimized, terrorized and oppressed are fighting over and neither side will ever give up.

There can be no remedy, no winning any war on terrorism without going to the root: the history and suffering of both people must be addressed and only with an honest third party seeking justice will there ever be security and peace. World leaders have failed at the task and both sides distrust the other, but repeated polls in Israel and Palestine prove the people are way ahead of their leaders. Majorities on both sides want a negotiated peace, but compromise on both sides must occur.

The bad news is that many Israelis and Palestinians lack HOPE that peace is possible. Peace requires justice and that demands dialogue not unilateral action and open hearts to feel and acknowledge the pain of the other. Everything is connected and the law of karma is what ever we send out will return to us. USA and Israel are best friends, and the rise of fundamentalism within all faiths, the increasing spread of anti-Semitism and the fear of Islam in America are wake up calls to all people of good will to do something. A change in course must be chartered, or we will pass onto our innocent children a legacy of endless war.

Six decades ago six million innocent Jews were cold bloodedly murdered because good people did nothing for far too long.

In 1973, Ariel Sharon told Winston Churchill III, “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

But all things are possible and miracles do occur. Imagine if we the people in the USA held our leaders accountable to the promises they make, and President Bush made a noble one: “In the long run, there is no justice without FREEDOM. There can be no human rights without LIBERTY. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty, we stand with you.”-President George W. Bush, Second Inaugural Address

When candidate Bush claimed his favorite philosopher was Christ, I believed him. Thomas Jefferson weeded out the miracle stories from the gospels and clarified the teachings of Christ in The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth which clarify what Christ was really all about:

To be just and justice comes from virtue which comes from the heart. To treat people the way we want to be treated. To always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with COMPASSION. To not judge others and bear no grudges, and those who think they know the most are the most ignorant.

The most radical and revolutionary of all of America’s founding fathers was Tom Paine, who wrote, “Soon after I had published the pamphlet “Common Sense” [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion... The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

Christ’s other name is “The Prince of Peace” and he walked and preached the good news that God is within all people. To truly follow Christ means one will rise up in defense of the poor, the oppressed, the outcast, the widow, the orphan, the poor, the prisoner and refugees. Christ taught that we are to pursue justice, and justice is the only way to security and peace…

The “war on terror” must be fought at the root and all roads do indeed, lead to Jerusalem.

Common sense understands democracy can never be achieved through the barrel of a gun. Justice and equal human rights for all people is the only way to security and peace. May we all do something as Americans and rise up and demand this Congress and Administration uphold the promise of President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address. For then, we truly can bring into this reality Tom Paine’s vision of what America was originally based upon.




People ask me all the time why I went to occupied Palestine-not just once-but six times since 2005 and why do I care so much about such a small plot of real estate.


I reply, that I went the first time to meet a little boy of Bethlehem who changed my life and to be the Christian delegate amongst the Palestinian and Jewish co-founders of the Olive Trees foundation for Peace [http://www.olivetreesfoundation.org/] an interfaith non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and funds to purchase trees to replace those that have been destroyed by The Wall.

But, all my last trips to occupied Palestine were driven by the fierce urgency of now and a sense of calling; to go-bear witness-and report about the lives of regular people living under military occupation and to learn about and support the grass root efforts of Israeli, Palestinian and International nonviolent activists against the occupation of Palestine.

I also left hearth and home for occupied Palestine because injustice anywhere reverberates all over the world and American taxpayers are culpable in where their money is laid down. Annually, over 3.2 billion USA tax dollars are sent to Israel to support the now 40+ years of military occupation of the indigenous peoples of the Holy Land.


It was at an Olive Trees Foundation for Peace meeting, that I met a Catholic woman who showed me a photo first published by the Florida Catholic in 2000; a photo that irrevocably changed my life.

Photographer Debbie Hill, captured three year old George [it is his photo that adorns the banner of my website] of Beit Jala, a once peaceful Christian village a five minute car ride from downtown Bethlehem, the morning after the Israeli army destroyed his sanctuary.

Israeli forces had retaliated against a few hopeless militants who had infiltrated George's neighborhood to snipe across the way into the illegal settlement/colony of Gilo, about a mile from the top of the hill not far from George's home.
 
The shrapnel that blew apart the wall of George's bedroom read 'Made in USA ' and was delivered via American made Apache helicopters.

The second I saw George's eyes, in that photo, my heart said "DO SOMETHING!"

What could I possibly do I wondered, but I did make a copy of the photo, put it in a frame and placed it upon the altar [a bar high table] in the upper room of my home. Dozens of times a day, I stop and gaze into the eyes of that little boy of Bethlehem and wonder what it will take to end the insane cycle of violence in the Holy Land; which is in pieces-bantustans.


When I met George for the first time in June 2005, I vowed to him that the rest of my life would be dedicated to doing all I could to help bring about the end of the occupation of Palestine.

Of course I had no clue as to what I would or could possibly do, or  how much of an 'impossible mission' I had promised a little child of Bethlehem. But, every morning I wake up and wonder what I can do today in the pursuit of peace and justice; equal human rights for all, for that is the only way Israel will ever be secure.

A month after my first return home from occupied territory, I put up my website and became a civilian journalist; which is best understood as one who goes out of their comfort zone to report for the benefit of we the people, without orders or censorship from editors or paychecks from conglomerates.

The first civilian journalist may well have been Rachel Corrie, the altruistic young American and volunteer with ISM/International Solidarity movement who was run over and killed by the weight of a Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza in 2003, four days before America bombed Baghdad.

Rachel and other NONVIOLENT activists had spent hours protesting against the demolition of the home of a pharmacist with five children in Gaza. The Corrie family has sought but has yet to receive justice; an open Congressional investigation and admission of accountability by the Caterpillar Company which continues to reap profits from manufacturing products that further the military occupation of Palestine.

On February 7 2003, Rachel wrote:

"…no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can't imagine it unless you see it - and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality…Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown…When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting…at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I'm done…I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60% of whom are refugees - many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Today, as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, 'Go! Go!' because a tank was coming. And then waving and [asking] 'What's your name?'

"Something disturbing about this friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids. Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what's going on. International kids standing in front of tanks with banners. Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously - occasionally shouting and also occasionally waving - many forced to be here, many just aggressive - shooting into the houses as we wander away…There is a great deal of concern here about the "reoccupation of Gaza". Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities. If people aren't already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope you will start."[1]

It was the events of THAT DAY we call 9/11 topped off by President Bush's advice a few days later to we the people that we should all go shopping if we wanted to help, that drove my curiosity to learn "about the consequences" of USA foreign policy in the Middle East.

Being a Christian, I also was driven by the need to forgive, love and do good to my 'enemies' that led me to connect with the interfaith non-profit OTFFP/Olive Trees Foundation for Peace during the summer of 2003.

I connected with the OTFFP after reading two oped's published in the Orlando Sentinel written by the Palestinian Muslim and American Jewish Co-Founders of the OTFFP regarding the need for open dialogue that recognizes, respects and empathizes with the pain of the other; for when that happens, anyone of good will, will be moved by compassion to do something to alleviate the pain of the other.

The OTFFP organization united American and Israeli Jews, Christians and Muslims after THAT DAY we call 9/11 to literally extend the olive branch of peace to all the cousins in Father Abraham's family in Israel Palestine by providing the funds to purchase fruit bearing trees on both sides of The Wall. So far, 30,000 have been rooted.


After a few phone calls and emails to the OTFFP organization, I committed to attend a Sunday afternoon OTFFP meeting in south Orlando following the final third of my first year of weekend retreats for students in a two year formation program for Spiritual Director's.

During 2002-2003, I participated in a central Florida, Episcopal-Methodist Formation Program for SD/Spiritual Director's/SD's. SD's are not counselors or therapists, but are centered and prayerful people who have learned to listen with their hearts to any other speaking of their struggles with God.

I knew going into the program that I would NOT be hanging out a shingle as an SD, I was drawn to be there for the curriculum; studying the saints and various ways of prayer. That is also when I began to write creative spiritual literature.

But on a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2003, after concluding my final weekend retreat I attended my first OTFFP meeting and my life was irrevocably changed, and it began that morning during a guided meditation.

The workshop leader instructed my class to close our eyes and breathe deep and slow as she invited us to enter into a long corridor with many closed doors; and then, she went silent. Immediately, I imagined myself skipping, jumping, dancing and running past miles of closed doors as I headed to the end of that long corridor. I was aware of, but not interested in any of the closed doors on my right and left. I headed straight ahead although it was a while before I saw the enormous cathedral sized double doors at the very end of the hallway. As I approached the wooden doors they slowly opened into the inner space and I could see trees and mountains. After crossing the threshold, I realized I stood upon a mountain top and I could see for miles. There were people of every color and creed, in diverse dress and all were at rest and in peaceful harmony under those trees.

When the workshop leader interrupted my reverie, I did not want to leave that mountain top. I also had no clue if I had a glimpse of heaven or a possibility for this world, but as I was on my way to meet some of the Olive Trees for Peace people I thought that had something to do with my imaginative meditation.

I was the first to arrive at Dr. Diab's home for the meeting, and on that Sunday I was the only Christian in a room filled with American Jews and Palestinian Muslims. I was in awe of all of them as I prayed, "Jesus Christ! Will you look at all these Muslims and Jews doing exactly what you commanded your followers must do; forgive, love and bless ones enemies. Imagine when all we Christians do it too!"

It was that fateful day that led me to travel two hours every Tuesday afternoon for many months in order to listen and write down Dr. Diab's memoirs, with the intention that it would be for his grandchildren.

But, being an Irish story teller, dissident and spiritual creative, I had no control over the six fictional characters that welled up within me and who began to converse with Dr. Diab during the days that followed our Tuesday meetings. Not until I completed, KEEP HOPE ALIVE did I even realize that my 'imaginary friends' also represented six different ways to intuit, love and serve God.


KEEP HOPE ALIVE is also an historical fiction based on the memoirs of a 1948 Palestinian Muslim refugee who became an American citizen with Top Secret Clearance during the Cold War and founded the non-profit interfaith Olive Trees Foundation for Peace as a positive response to THAT DAY we call 9/11.

Because of my connection to the OTFFP, I journeyed the first time to occupied territory in June 2005. I wrote down everything I experienced, felt in my gut and wondered about. I went places I had never imagined existed and I did things I never thought I would or could; such as leaving Ramallah for Jerusalem late at night with a driver I did not know and who only spoke Arabic.

That morning, I rode along with Dr. Diab and his driver to Ramallah from Jerusalem, and witnessed the Wall in full frontal, brutal view. On my left was a thirty foot high wall of concrete; on my right, only rows of bankrupt businesses.

"Financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per mile, the Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers from their olive groves which have been their families' sole livelihood for generations." [Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Page 43, Jan/Feb. 2007]


Dr. Diab and I had an appointment at the Palestinian Authority’s compound, where Arafat is now buried.

We met with Rafiq Husseini, chief of staff to President Abbas who informed us, “We have lost more than 1.1 million fruit-bearing trees in Palestinian territories. Trees are about food, the environment, and life. Ancient trees have been demolished by tanks, and we thank the Olive Trees Foundation for Peace for addressing the need to replace them and rebuild the faith of our people. Palestine has always been tolerant to people of all religions. The Jews came here out of Spain along with many Arabs — and then came Zionism. When one wants to take over another, war happens. President Abbas is a very bad politician; he does not lie! He is ready to move on from the past. We have quit crying over our losses; we must move on. Live and let live is the motto of this administration. We can not carry on a battle; it must stop. Peace can only happen with peace, not force. President Abbas has promised, ‘We will do whatever it takes to show the world we want peace.’ We need America to help us. The best thing would be for Americans to come and see the truth of the situation for themselves. I encourage Americans to come and see the Wall; it has nothing to do with security, but everything to do with grabbing water and more land. When Americans understand the real situation, things will change for the better. The humiliation at the checkpoints is beyond belief. It can drive anyone to desperation. We condemn all terrorism, but resisting occupation is necessary.”


After that meeting, Dr. Diab set off for his home village in the Galilee and I explored Ramallah with a friend who was born and lives there. Just before midnight, my friend walked me through the checkpoint to where the cabs waited. I cringed when I saw the watchtower’s small window lit up, and I considered how easy it would be to be shot at and never see it coming. The ground was rocky, uneven, and littered with debris and the only light was from the moon.

My friend bargained with a cabbie in Arabic and I marveled that I, who hated to fly before 9/11 and with absolutely no sense of direction at all, who only speaks and understands English, was traveling alone through occupied territory without any fear at all.

After two weeks of traveling through Israel Palestine with ten other Americans connected with the OTFFP, I remained alone in Jerusalem for the following three days and once again, my life was irrevocably changed.

On the third Tuesday in June of 2005- six days before I returned to the USA- after an excruciatingly painful day in Hebron, I crossed paths with Vanunu for the first time.

In April 2005, two months before my first trip to Jerusalem, I turned the TV on that had last been tuned onto the History channel. They were broadcasting a show called, "Sexpionage" all about Russian female spies and one from the Mossad.

The very first clip that ran before my eyes was of Vanunu being transported to his closed door trial depicting his inspired move to write upon his palm: "HIJACKED" and the Rome flight number he had been on. That was followed by a clip of Shimon Perez in 1986 stating that Israel would never be the first in the Mid East to possess nuclear weapons.

Then, a black and white photo of a bearded, unkempt and disheveled Vanunu filled the TV screen and I thought his eyes looked just like George's of Beit Jala's, and again, I heard in my heart:

"Do Something!"


I did email Vanunu after that show to thank him for what he had done in 1986 and to let him know that I and nine other Americans would be in his territory in two months and we would like to take him to dinner or lunch. But, just days before that trip, a Palestinian American warned me not to contact Vanunu as Israel had denied him the right to speak to not just foreign media but also ordered him to not speak to any foreigners at all.

Only because a friend from Ramallah happened to be in Jerusalem on the third Tuesday in June 2005, and invited me out to dinner, did I venture out again. I had no hunger for food after my day in Hebron but as we walked towards the Old City and neared St. Georges Cathedral where Vanunu had been living, I asked my friend if he knew about Vanunu. He recalled hearing about Vanunu's release from prison in 2004, but he did not know Vanunu was a Christian who had grown up in an Orthodox Jewish home but rejected the faith at 14 years old.

As we entered the courtyard, Vanunu was on his way out to a meeting and a few minutes difference and we would have missed him completely.

Instead I was startled by his physical presence, for I had imagined Vanunu to be dark eyed and much taller than I at 5'4". Vanunu is not much taller or heavier than I, but what knocked me for a loop were his light green-blue eyes that immediately reminded me of the eyes of an old woman I met in 1998, who irrevocably changed my life.

Her name was Bernice and I crossed paths with her for the first time just a few weeks after I began visiting someone at a local nursing home. As I walked down the hallway, Bernice called out, "Help me. Help me."

I had been a registered nurse for twenty-five years and when ever I hear someone ask for help, I am compelled to do something, or at least try. All Bernice wanted was for me to change her position, for she was completely paralyzed. From a distance I thought her eyes were dark, but as I approached her, I was startled at how light green-blue they were. That day was the beginning of my now ten year nursing home ministry, and although I have no clue what color Jesus' eyes may have been, in that moment, I sensed/experienced the presence of The Other; that mystery we call God, for lack of a better word. Crossing paths with Bernice was the first time I had known a visceral, intuitive experience of the presence of God within another. It happened for the second time in the courtyard of St. George's Cathedral in 2005, during the chance crossing of paths with Vanunu, who inspired me to do something I had not yet imagined I would or could.

During our third meeting, while Vanunu was telling me about growing up in Marrakech, Morocco he asked me if I had ever seen the  "Dorothy Day"  movie, "The Man who Knew Too Much" for the beginning scenes were shot where he grew up.

He meant to say Doris Day, but in that moment I realized my childhood dream of being Brenda Starr had matured, for Vanunu's slip of the tongue was the catalyst for me to begin to imagine following in the footsteps of Dorothy Day, the 20th century socialist muckraker who became a Christian and a voice for the voiceless in her newspaper The Catholic Worker, which persists today.

Dorothy Day understood that, "Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of open cities. Love is not killing......Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers."

During my travels through occupied Palestine and after listening with my heart to the people who shared their stories with me, I asked everyone, "How can I help? What can I do to try to be a peacemaker?"

Everyone responded, "Tell our stories."
 

Dorothy Day and Rachel Corrie told the stories of the oppressed. They both are dead, but as long as I can do something and have breath, I too will tell the stories as I try to be a peacemaker by seeking justice; equal human rights for all, and persist to hope for the best.

Might you do something too.



1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/mar/18/usa.israel

   
 
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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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www.EileenFleming.org

Vanunu's Message to

Hillary Clinton re:
The Apartheid Wall



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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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