News from Norway -
Tromsø Speeches Now Available

Oslo, 15. Dec. 2001

Dear friends and supporters of Mordechai,

Tromsø University made Mordechai their Honorary Doctor on May 15 - this was a great event of excellent support for Mordechai. They have now printed all speeches at the ceremony and the seminar, where the case for Vanunu and for nuclear disarmament was presented in a very powerful, principled way.

The university rector, Tove Bull, and professor of history Randi Rønning Balsvik (both women) gave very wise and strong testimony and explained the reasons why this high academic honor was well deserved. Nobel laureate Joseph Rotblat and Mordechai´s brother, Meir, also gave very impressive speeches.

Even if I am not a religious person, I find it timely (since we are approaching Christmas) to quote the moving opening of the speech of rector Bull. She quoted the initial words of the beautiful Norwegian hymn, that had just been sung by the excellent choir that performed at the ceremony:

"Noen må vaake i verdens natt. = Some must keep watch in the night of the world, some must have faith when it is dark."

Meir and I agreed to ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to let the Norwegian ambassador in Israel visit Mordechai and hand over the diploma and a special gift (tapestry) to him - and at the same time inquire about his situation and prison conditions. This was denied by Israel´s Ministry of Justice, on the grounds that "the prisoner cannot receive gifts". (this is not true - he can receive books, magazines, CD records etc.)

As we approach the holiday season, and with the situation in Israel keeps worsening, with very adverse effects also for Mordechai, my thoughts keep returning even more often to the lonesome guard for our common survival in Ashqelon prison. I hope you will all send him some words of appreciation and encouragement - he needs it.

I continue carrying my FREE VANUNU badge (from the UK campaign) around - also during my stay in New York in October, as part of the Norwegian delegation to the UN General Assembly. Lots of people look and ask - also numerous diplomats. When I met with Kofi Annan, he did not mention Vanunu (but I am sure he noticed) and, when the badge drew the attention of the Head of the UN offices in Geneva, Vladimir Petrovsky, I asked him to use any possibility that might arise for him to help.

We have just completed a big 6-day student peace festival during the Nobel Centenary last weekend and I brought Vanunu up when I introduced Rotblat to the audience. We also had a stall for Vanunu at this event.

Today I talked with MV brother Asher on the phone from Jerusalem. He last saw Mordechai this Wednesday and found him in good spirit, but very impatient to get his freedom. Also annoyed by the continuing severe conditions and harassment by the prison authorities, with regard to food, mail, phones, visits.

So - continue to send greetings Mordechai, carry the Vanunu badge, mention his case in meetings, visit the Israeli embassy in your country, write in the papers. When addressing letters to Mordechai now, you may add his academic title: Dr. Mordechai Vanunu (or Mordechai Vanunu, Dr. H.C.), Ashqelon Prison, Ashqelon Israel.

I can strongly recommend the Tromsø booklet, - you are certain to find it interesting and helpful (not least the many who have plans for similar initiatives at other universities in Europe, the US and Australia). Send a request to the Tromsø University Information department: info@uit.no.

This Christmas we mourn and miss Sam Day, vigorous and untiring leader of the US Campaign, Vannunu´s most devoted supporter, a great activist and dear friend.

Wishing you all the best for Christmas and that the New Year will bring a new insight and change of mind and heart in certain high places in Israel,

Fredrik S. Heffermehl
International Free Vanunu Campaign

N. Juells g. 28 A,
N-0272 Oslo, Norway
Phone: +47 2244 8003 (or 2301 0300), Fax: +47 2244 7616
http://home.c2i.net/norpeace or http://www.ipb.org