Hiroshima & Nagasaki Anniversary Protest in D.C. Calls for Freedom for Vanunu

by Art Laffin

On August 8, 2001, over 50 people from the Atlantic Life Community held a nonviolent protest at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., to call for an end to the escalating violence in Palestine and Israel, and to appeal for the release of Mordechai Vanunu. The protest occurred as part of a Faith and Resistance retreat to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Holding a 15 foot long banner which said "Israel - End the Occupation, Justice and Peace for Palestinians and Israelis," and "Free Vanunu" signs, the group held a brief rally at the corner of Connecticut Avenue. They then processed to the sidewalk across the street from the Israeli Embassy, where several members of the American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee spontaneously joined them.

The vigil began with chants to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and to free Mordechai Vanunu. A scripture reading was offered, followed by the group statement, which was prepared by Barry Roth and Eurydice Hirsey, both members of the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu. The statement is reproduced, in part, on the next page.

Reflections about Vanunu were offered, as well as a poem Mordechai wrote pleading for "No more Hiroshimas... no more Chernobyls... no more nuclear weapons... no more weapons of mass destruction". Singing the "Vine and Fig Tree" song, the group crossed over to the Israeli Embassy, and in a gesture of peace, despite heavy security, left a scroll of the vigil statement and figs.

[Art Laffin, associate coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu, is a peace and justice activist who lives at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, D.C.]