[East Jerusalem: Occupied Territory] Beginning this September, Mordechai Vanunu will be back in court fighting a six month sentence behind bars because he opened his mouth in Israel.
On July 2, 2007 , Mordecahi Vanunu learned that the Israeli law under which his speech and movement have been restricted is a relic from the British Mandate period in Palestine , before the state of Israel was founded and replaced that British rule in 1948. Nothing like it exists in any democracy in the world. When Vanunu was convicted, he joked, "Perhaps I should turn to the Queen or Tony Blair for justice."
In March 2006, just three months after Vanunu's historic freedom of speech trial in a Mid East democracy began, what played out in court was discussed between us in "30 Minutes with Vanunu" a video commentary by Vanunu on the irony of Israeli democracy implementing the British Mandate Regulations against him and millions of Palestinians, that led him to conclude, "Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew."
Jeff Halper, American Israeli, Founder and Coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions coined the term 'Ethnocracy' to describe Israeli rule; full and equal rights to all Jews, but nobody else. Halper has unequivocally affirmed, "Israeli is not a democracy, it is an Ethnocracy."
The maxim is never meet your hero's, but I am glad I met one of mine. My only regret is that it took me two years to realize the irony and my shortsightedness in not realizing the impossibility of Vanunu trusting another woman from Florida .
From 1986 to 2004, Israel kept Vanunu in a tomb sized cell with no window, most all of it in solitary confinement. Vanunu was drugged and interrogated without legal council and convicted of treason during a closed door trial. For the first two years of incarceration, a camera and light were on constantly. If Vanunu ever did nod off to sleep, "A guard would come and shine a brighter light into my face and say, 'Just checking if you had committed suicide yet.'"
In 2002, President Bush declared U.S. citizen, Jose Padilla an enemy combatant and he was stripped of all rights and detained at a Navy brig in South Carolina where he was held in solitary isolation for 43 months and denied access to an attorney for two years.
Forensic Psychiatrist Angela Hegarty examined Padilla last year and concluded the extreme isolation and torture had left Padilla essentially brain damaged, "What happened at the brig was essentially the destruction of a human being's mind." http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/17/1323250
Padilla is devoid of a personality because of the cruel and inhumane treatment he endured for three and a half years. Vanunu has endured cruel and inhumane punishment for the last twenty-one years and has a challenging personality. Vanunu is justly paranoid for Israeli Security monitors his snail mail, email and telephone calls. He is justifiably angry at the injustice of being prevented from leaving Israel , which is all he has wanted for the last three years.
Speaking to Vanunu in such a place as a post office is guaranteed to gather a swarm of spies of strange kinds, people lacking finesse who would oh, so nonchalantly saunter over to a follow up meeting I requested with Vanunu after crossing paths with him in east Jerusalem . Vanunu insisted we could only meet at the Salah Adin Post Office, next door to the police station. It was not until that meeting, did I realize that this female from Florida had become a part of the Vanunu legend, for both cameras and spies occupy the Salah Adin Post Office.
During my two years of crossing paths with Vanunu scattered amongst five trips to Israel Palestine, I have found Vanunu to be articulate, funny, detached, and distant and I have never failed to ask a question which ended the conversation between us. I crossed paths with Vanunu for the first time most recently o n the third day of my fifth journey to Israel Palestine, July 16, 2007- which is also known as the 9th day of Av, the day the Jewish Temple was destroyed. I was on my way to my hotel on Nablus Road in East Jerusalem just after attending Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions media kick off day for the first of 300 homes to be rebuilt this summer, out of the 18,000 Israel has destroyed since 1967. I was witness to the pouring of the foundation of the new home of the Hamdan clan of nine who still have the deeds to their property that were filled-out during the Ottoman Empire.
In front of me I noticed an old man, hunched over as in the proverbial image of one whose back is breaking under the weight of the world, walking very slowly and talking to himself.
It was not until I passed him by and I recognized the voice that called out to me, "Hi, remember me?"
Then I realized it was Vanunu. I had never seen Vanunu wear sunglasses and he now sports big black frames. Last November, when I saw Vanunu last, he walked as fast as I, [a former New Yorker] but his gait that day, was like any other old man's on the hot streets of Jerusalem in July.
"This is the very spot where they stoned to death the first Christian martyr for freedom of speech," he told me as we had crossed paths in front of St. Stephen's Church. Saint Stephen was the first follower of Jesus to be stoned to death for speaking truth to power 2,000 years ago.
In June 2007, Vanunu emailed me to delete the "30 Minutes with Vanunu" from my website, but he never gave me his reason why. I emailed him back that I could not comply for the video is cross posted on You tube and Information Clearing House and belongs to history. He never emailed me back after that, but now that we were face to face, I asked, "Just exactly why do you want the video deleted from my site?"