In front of me I had noticed an old man, hunched over shoulders, walking very slowly and muttering to himself, but not until I passed him by and I recognized the voice that called out to me, "Hi, remember me?"
That I realized it was Vanunu.
previously, Vanunu had received a six-month jail sentence as outcome to his
freedom of speech trial. We had crossed paths in front of St. Stephen's
Dominican Church on Nablus Road.
Photo of Vanunu by Meir Vanunu, Nov. 2007 in front of statue of St. Stephen
Vanunu smiled when he said, "This is the spot where they stoned to death the first Christian martyr for freedom of speech."
St. Stephen was indeed the very first Christian martyr to be stoned to death for speaking truth to power and Vanunu had quit giving interviews, as he said, "Because the media has never helped me."
Amy Goodman's interview with Vanunu in 2004 was used as major testimony against him in his freedom of speech trial that began the same day Hamas was democratically elected on 25 January 2006.
Amy Goodman was a
2008 recipient of The Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel,
which Vanunu was awarded in 1987, and received at a belated ceremony in
Jerusalem in 2005. Vanunu wrote in his acceptance speech from Ashkelon prison:
"The passive acceptance and complacency with regard to the existence of nuclear weapons anywhere on earth is the disease of society today.
"This struggle is not only a legitimate one - it is a moral, inescapable struggle. What we who are opposed to nuclear arms are saying is this: it is not we who broke the law, who violated human and civil rights, but the governments which chose to create the greatest threat to human life that ever existed. Never in human history was there such a threat to the very existence of mankind and to all life on earth.
"And no government, not even the most democratic, can force us to live under this threat. No state in the world can offer any kind of security against this menace of a nuclear holocaust, or guarantee to prevent it.
"By returning to the pre-nuclear era we are the sane civilians, we want to live - and we say to the governments, "no nuclear arms!"
"We must arouse people and warn them. Ours is the role of the angry prophet.
"A person who
refuses to accept the existence of this suicidal type of arms is a mentally
healthy person, who does not want to be expelled from this earth as Adam was
expelled from the Garden of Eden.
"Already now there are enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world many times over.
"Nuclear weapons are means of extermination, and cannot protect any country, including Israel.
"A state that lives in fear of destruction must not threaten the whole world with annihilation. The people who experienced a holocaust must not bring a holocaust upon another people.