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Home arrow Blog arrow December 2009 arrow December 5, 2009

December 5, 2009
December 5, 2009: The Vanunu Opera 

It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings is a proverb that means do NOT assume the outcome of something-such as a sports game-until it has finished.

The proverb originated from Richard Wagner's opera suite Der Ring des Nibelungen in its last part, Götterdämmerung, when the fat lady/the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, delivers an aria that lasts nearly ten minutes and ends the drama.


Thirty-three years ago, Mordechai Vanunu began listening to Wagner, a 19th century German composer [who wrote both music and libretto for every one of his works] because, "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 told me that during my last visit to occupied east Jerusalem in June 2009. At that time he was also walking 2 ˝ hours a day to the checkpoints he is denied the right to cross that lead to Bethlehem and Lazarus' Tomb. Vanunu had also been playing coed volleyball and having dinner weekly with his friends from the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City, where he became a member three years ago and has attended both the English and German services because he liked the music. Shortly thereafter, he quit meeting reporters as well as foreign supporters.


Three weeks after my visit, while back in Israeli High Court, Vanunu learned he was again denied the right to leave the state for another six months, which literally is up on December 21, 2009.


Whether out of boredom with the topic or weariness, Vanunu finally committed to refrain from speaking of Israel's nuclear program during the July 6, 2009 Supreme Court trial while President Dorit Beinish, claimed his "case is still generating great interest, like any other security-related case. The media's attention he gets is proof of that." [1]


There is no proof to back up that judge's claim and in fact, the media's silence has worked to collude in the injustices Vanunu has endured, for he has been demonized in Israel and remains largely unknown in America.  However, the Media's negligence has conspired to help create an iconic hero for proponents of the abolition of nuclear weapons and supporters for human rights united on the Internet and so, until Israel allows Vanunu the right to full freedom, the human interest in-and the disseminating of-his drama will grow and be spread on the world wide web.


When I met Vanunu in 2005, I was in the midst of writing my first book, but it was not until 2004, when I began researching for it, did I first come across his name. In the Chapter: Thanksgiving Eve, 1987 from KEEP HOPE ALIVE, I wrote:

“I have yet to read or heard a word from the American press about Vanunu who had worked in a very compartmentalized position in the secret underground Dimona nuclear research center in the Negev. The nuclear plant had a sign outside claiming it was a Textile factory and it seems that when Vanunu finally realized he was involved in the horrific work of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, he shot two rolls of film inside of the restricted areas. Seems security was very lax and this low level tech was able to obtain the keys in the shower room that opened the doors to what Israel has not admitted to…Vanunu quit the job and leaves Israel and carried around the undeveloped film for nearly a year as he traveled throughout Europe. He ended up in Sydney, Australia and converted to Christianity.

“A few weeks after he shared his story with a British reporter…Vanunu and the reporter returned to London, and while the London Times was verifying his story, Vanunu mysteriously disappeared. The photos proved the fact that Israel had become a major nuclear power, but not a word has been heard from my government or press!

“The Sunday Times reports this incredible news that Israel’s underground plutonium plant has material for two hundred nuclear warheads of advanced design, but not a word have I read about it or heard from the US media! It makes me wonder about all the iron curtains the media and government have raised as a shield from the truth.” [2]

Governments get away with mayhem and murder whenever the media fails or is prevented from doing their job; to investigate and report the truth, no matter how ugly or brutal.

VANUNU's 2005 message to USA:
We Are Wide Awake (WAWA) interviews


Vanunu began talking to anyone except the Israeli press, the day he emerged from 18 years in a tomb sized cell, on April 21, 2004, after serving a full sentence for espionage and treason which was due to his crisis of conscience about being a cog in creating WMD and which lead him to photograph the proof that Israel had already manufactured of upwards of 200 nuclear warheads by 1985 in the Dimona, a clandestine seven story underground WMD facility in the Negev.


Most of the 18 years behind bars, Vanunu spent in solitary. For the last nearly six years of waiting for the right to leave occupied east Jerusalem where he has been under relentless surveillance has led to another crisis of faith for Vanunu; his first at sixteen when he rejected his families Orthodox Jewish faith and became an atheist, agnostic and existentialist until just a few days prior to being kidnapped by the Mossad in 1986.


In 2005, Vanunu told me:

“I really had no clue what I was doing by getting baptized a Christian; I just felt like I had to do it. It was my way to become 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 a half 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 myself, as well as for my captors--not so much the prison guards, but the ones who watched me on camera twenty-four hours a day. Once I covered up the camera that spied on me and was punished with one month in solitary, without any books or radio; no contact with anyone anywhere was allowed. It was just them, watching me, constantly watching me.”

“Who are they?”

“The Shen Beet, you know, like the FBI and the Mossad, like your CIA— they were watching me. 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 13 instead." [3]


Most Christians understand that 1 Corinthians 13 is a description of how God loves all people as well as a call for all people to love all others in the same way too. Christians also understand that God is love and love trumps all.


In November 2009, on Vanunu's You Tube page he published an excerpt of his spin of 1 Corinthians 13, and edited out the word LOVE and replaced it with FREEDOM: [Bold mine]

 

vanunuvmjc (3 weeks ago)
 
 

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.


 

vanunuvmjc (2 weeks ago)
 
 
 
Hi,From june 2009,
This is Vanunu ,Auto reply. NO any news here.
The 6 th' year restrictions, not to leave the country continue.
AFTER 18 YEARS PRISON.
The isreal stupid spies will not get any thing from here.
FROM NOW ON, FOR $1,000,YOU CAN MEET ME HERE,VANUNU.
After 23 years, Now I am sending, God and religion free from my case.
FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM I NEED NOW.
VMJC. [4]



In December 1998, the Anglican Rev. David B. Smith, of Australia, compiled, formatted and published LETTERS FROM SOLITARY: Letters from Mordechai Vanunu to David Smith he wrote:

"I first met Morde late on a Friday night. We were running a little coffee-shop-type setup outside the church building in Kings Cross and Morde just wandered in...His English was not terrific, but we managed some pretty serious conversation at our first meeting. Morde had recently completed studies at university. I had completed university just before entering seminary. Morde had been studying philosophy. I had just completed my honours degree in philosophy! Morde’s interest had been in existentialism. Mine had been also! Morde’s chief figure of interest was Nietzsche – the belligerent German atheist. Mine was Kierkegaard – the eccentric Christian preacher. Morde had read Kierkegaard, and my first introduction to Kierkegaard had been in a course comparing him to Nietzsche. We found we had plenty to talk about.

"It was a curious scene that developed that night. Two figures in the middle of the Cross, locked in passionate discussion about theories of meaning and existence. In Morde’s broken English we managed to discuss Nietzsche’s concept of ‘staring into the abyss’ of your life and embracing your despair, and Kierkegaard’s optimistic alternative – throwing yourself into the abyss and finding that the abyss is God and is able to support you.

"At the time my own faith was deeply intertwined with these concepts. For Morde though, I don’t think I realized exactly how much was at stake in his thinking until much further down the track. Some months later Morde would embrace the Christian faith, and let go of much of his former life. At an academic level he was also very self-consciously embracing Kierkegaard and rejecting Nietzsche. This is significant, for Kierkegaard was always on about taking ‘risks’, or ‘leaps of faith’, as he would call them.

"The one complete work of Kierkegaard that had been translated into Hebrew, and which Morde had read, was his eulogy on Abraham, entitled ‘Fear and Trembling’. In it Kierkegaard reflects on Abraham’s call to go and sacrifice his son Isaac. How can this be right, when it seems to be a betrayal of his family, and is contrary to his reason and even to his conscience? Yet Abraham knows that this is what he has been called to by God, and so he sets out upon his task, albeit with ‘fear and trembling’.

"Morde would make his own leap of faith. He would come to the front of St John’s church and say out loud ‘Now I give myself to God. Now I do what I must do.’ True to the Kierkegaardian spirit, Morde made his decision alone.

"It has been extraordinary to read and hear some of the things people have said about Morde – that he was a ‘professional spy’, a ‘trained terrorist’, a ‘brilliant con-man’. How much time did such people spend actually trying to get to know the guy? ‘For God’s sake’ I feel like shouting ‘this man is my friend. You obviously don’t know him at all.’

"As clever as Morde was (and is) at an academic level, when it came to the subtle art of spying, Morde was downright naive! I’ll never forget the incident at the airport where Morde misplaced the bag with the entire collection of Dimona photos! Where had he put it? It was found at the top of the escalators, where he had left it when he went to check in! Not exactly the behavior of a professional secret agent.

"The naiveté was evident too in the matter of the money he was supposed to be paid. "They say they are going to pay me something for the photos" he told me one Sunday morning. He added "I will give the money to the church here and it will help in the ministry."


On 27th February 1987, Vanunu wrote from solitary:

"Now I know that my task in this world is to devote myself for working and helping other people, and my task here in Israel is to show that I was born Jewish but I find that JC is our savior. This will not make my life easy here but this faith will keep me strong and make my suffering bearable.

"Yet I am not allowed to see a priest. They cannot succeed to take from me one of the most important human rights in a democratic country. I wrote a letter to the Bishop Samir Kafity (Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem) and I asked him to send me one of the priests.

"Next week is the trial. I am not worried or afraid because I know what I did and I know who I am. I believe that what happens to me is God’s will, and I will wait for my release.

"I don’t know a lot about what is going on outside the prison because they keep me isolated. Even my lawyer I see only one time a week, and my brothers every two weeks for one half hour. My parents came to see me one time; they didn’t like my faith. I think someone sent them to me because I know my parents. I am a Christian; they will not come to see me again. I have sorrow for them, but as Jesus said, who wants me must leave his parents and follow me. My brothers are not concerned about my faith. Everyone wants to know why I became a Christian and I send them to learn of Kierkegaard’s philosophy. There I find love and Jesus, and everyone has to open his heart to find this love, and then Jesus will be wherever we might be."


On 5 June 1987, Vanunu wrote:

"I am spending 24 hours every day alone in a cell reading the Bible and other books. Praying every morning and evening, and trying to know more of God’s words. Here I am alone in my faith but by reading the New Testament I feel encouraged, and it gives me strength. The life of the Lord JC is the way I am following, and his words to the Jews are what I can say to the Jews here today.

"I feel that the spirit of God is with me all the time, and now here he keeps me alive and gives me the power to stand in this country, and to say the Lord JC is the truth."


On November 27, 1987, Vanunu wrote:

"But now I know that all that they want is to break my faith, my soul, to separate me from my brothers in Christ. So I have to be more concerned about what they are doing. And be stronger in my faith and keep my faith deep in my heart with me here in my small cell.

"God called me to know him and to be his servant and I accept his mission. All what I have done is from my conscience.

"I did my decision alone by the voice of God who called me in my heart. And the same thing happened with my action against nuclear weapons. From the beginning it has come to me from my belief from inside - my values, my respect for the human being and the human right.

"And of course everyone knows and understands all about nuclear weapons - the new holocaust that is hanging over our lives."
 


On 28 January, 1989, Vanunu wrote:

"I was not a spy. And the people here and in all the world have the right to know what their Government has been hiding from them in the nuclear issues. I am not guilty. I did my duty. If I did not have this information, I could not publish it, but God chose those who will do his mission. I believe that I served God’s mission…to do peace, to make the people aware of the nuclear holocaust…No one can change this truth and no one can change my faith and my mind."

 

For many of the 18 years Vanunu spent behind bars, he would receive thousands of cards and letters from supporters during the Christmas season. Thanks to all who send him a note of support this holiday season through
http://vanunu.com/ while he waits for the day 'the fat lady' will sing a song of freedom.

Learn More: The Vanunu Saga:

http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=660&Itemid=175





 1. http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1335&Itemid=222
2. http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1306&Itemid=221

3. http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=940&Itemid=201

4. http://www.youtube.com/user/vanunuvmjc






   
 
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