Letter from Prison

By Jennifer Ramsay

Mordechai Vanunu remains in an Israeli prison, over a year and a half after his kidnapping from Italy. He is on trial for: 1) assisting the enemy in time of war, 2) aggravated espionage, and 3) giving information to unauthorized persons.

His brother Meir stopped briefly in Canada to visit Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto. Meir Vanunu was not an activist, and only became"political."when the Israeli state kidnapped his brother. Abandoning his law career (he cannot return to Israel as he faces a long jail term for violating state secrets-- i.e. talking about his brother's kidnapping), Meir set off to tell the world about the injustices Mordechai has suffered. He is outraged that what has been done to his brother .

"There is a media campaign to discredit him. He has been called a traitor, unstable, and a communist," Meir said. Public sentiment in Israel is still against Vanunu, many of the stories in the media revolve around Vanunu as traitor. As Meir repeatedly pointed out, Vanunu's crime is of telling the world what most of the world suspected and much of the world knew.

Meir made this very clear: Canadian intervention in his brother's case is essential. "[Israel's] image is very important to them," he stressed. It is this which gives Meir hope. He feels that if Israel can be made to feel ridiculous by international pressure for keeping Vanunu imprisoned for the "crime" of telling the truth, his brother may escape life imprisonment.

While in Canada, Meir met with several MPs and, by chance,with Prime Minister Mulroney. He urged them to pressure the Israeli government to release Mordechai. An External Affairs spokesperson said the Canadian government has not officially contacted the Israell government, but is "monitoring the situation."Asked about what activists should be doing, Meir hoped that Mordechai's letter will be reproduced many times over. He urged people to write to the Canadian government to press for action, the Israeli government to demand his release, the Nobel Prize selection committee to nominate Mordechai, and to Mordechai himself in prison to let him know of the support. Meir felt there were a number of ways in which the profile of the case could be raised. "For example, stand in front of the Israeli Embassy."

Message from Mordechai Vanunu

MY MESSAGE IS IN SEVERAL spheres. On the personal level, the individual, the citizen, everywhere on the face of the earth, has to find a way to personally contribute to improving life on earth. By taking this course he will make daily life pleasanter and more tolerable. Much can be made from what society offers. If, for example, a person can contribute in the realm of social equality so that people will not be discriminated against because of their color, religion, or sex, such a person is worthy of respect and emulation. If, in my case, I wanted to increase the awareness of the nuclear danger in this country and in the region, then my action contributes to the security and brotherhood of nations. By my action I showed that individuals still have some power in the face of the unlimited power of the establishment. The individual can compel the establishment, can say to it, you are accountable to me. The individual can expose the dark machinations of any regime in the world by means of civil disobedience, for the sake of the general welfare. Civil disobedience is a mighty weapon which will eventually be discovered by many citizens.

Every government depends on the cooperation of many individuals. An action like mine teaches citizens that their own reasoning, the reasoning of every individual, is no less important than that of the leaders. Don't follow them blindly in important and crucial issues, such as nuclear.

IF THERE EVER WAS A CASE THAT CALLS FOR CIVIL disobedience it is this, because the nuclear issue is a new and mighty threat that has yet to be sufficiently considered in the world. Many people are unaware of the tremendous volcano under them. The day that volcano erupts, there will be no way back for humanity. And this threat, this holocaust that hangs over us, is in the hands of man--who is liable to error and failure, as in the case of Chernobyl. People have grown used to living with the nuclear menace without being aware of the possibility that (a holocaust) may actually take place. The two major powers sanction the intolerable presence of vast quantities of nuclear arms, and some Third World countries follow in their footsteps without considering the extent of the danger.

I HAD TO OVERCOME MANY PERSONAL BARRIERS to do what I did. The chief one was the sacrifice of my personal life to exposure and slander, and of my future plans. But the action was worth it. By it I pointed out a path in which I believe, that a man must be willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of an important act that is beneficial to all humanity. I had to overcome those who are held to be wise and intellectual-- who were all around me, who worked with me-- and say to them, you are mistaken. I know the truth. You are on the wrong track.

Such an act undermines the general confidence in leaders, who must not be relied upon blindly. We witnessed it in the Lebanon War: Most people supported it, and today it is reversed. The majority know that it was not a war but simply bloodshed caused by a few leaders who sacrificed thousands of people on the altar of their megalomania. They are still in the leadership. They executed civilians and children; and soldiers died following their follies blindly. I knew from the first day of the war, that it was going to be one more slaughter, from which no good could come. I wouldn't buy the stories of the Israeli government.

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1988

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1988, page 6. Some rights reserved.

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