Worldwide Vigils for Vanunu, September 2002

From Stockholm, September 29

We held a vigil for 1 1/2 hour .

from Stockholm
Åsa Moberg (in red) held a speech for 20 min about Mordechai and nuclear weapons and especially in Middle East regions.

Olof Buckard talked about ethics and about sometimes you are bound to do dangerous things to preserve your humanity.

Roland von Malmborg brought his guitar; he had made a song about Mordechai.

We handed out about 1000 leaflets during the vigil.

From London, September 30

from Stockholm
The London vigil went ahead as planned, on September 30th, where our regular Saturday vigil takes place. Between 30-40 people came during the set time of 12 noon and 3pm. Most people and some passers-by signed or sent messages to Mordechai on a large birthday card. There were many banners and placards and a large number of our information leaflets were distributed. About £35 was collected. Towards the end of the vigil we were entertained by a flute player and trumpeter. We will be writing to the embassy to ask for a meeting with a number of trustees to ask about Mordechai's release date and other issues. The following is the message we sent to Mordechai for his 48th birthday:

GREETINGS AND VERY BEST WISHES FOR YOUR 48TH BIRTHDAY FROM THIS SEPTEMBER 30TH VIGIL, OUTSIDE THE ISRAELI EMBASSY IN LONDON. WE HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON; A FREE AND COURAGEOUS MAN WHO REMAINED STEADFAST AND TRUE TO HIS CAUSE OF A NUCLEAR FREE MIDDLE EAST IN THE FACE OF CRUEL, INHUMANE AND DEGRADING TREATMENT BY THE ISRAELI AUTHORITIES.

From Lisbon, September 30

from Rome
Local Group 19 of Amnesty International in Portugal organised two different events on September 30.

We "built" a Mordechai Vanunu "dummy" (filling clothes with phone directories, newspapers and plastic bags and placing a mask with his photograph over its shoulders) and laid it in the sidewalk, inside of an imaginary 2x3 mts cell (marked on the sidewalk with broad red tape).

Taking advantage of the curiosity of passers-by (some of them even thought at first glance that someone was feeling ill), we were able to distribute about 350 leaflets during the two events, a "regular" leaflet distribution between 12:30 and 14:00 and a vigil with candles in the pavement, around the "cell", between 19:30 and 21:00.

Although the number varied during each period, about 10 different people were involved in these two events.

From Rome, October 2

from Rome
Wednesday, October 2 a vigil was held in Rome outside the Israeli embassy. Around 30 people participated, many from the group Women in Black. The vigilers distributed leaflets to people and held banners. They also collected signatures on a birthday card for Mordechai. Organizer Marinella Correggia had an article about Mordechai in the daily il manifesto - you can find it by going to http://www.ilmanifesto.it. Click the pages "mondo". An article about Mordechai also appeared in Liberazione.

From Hiroshima, September 29

from Hiroshima
There was an action for Vanunu in front of the A-bomb Dome on Sunday, September 29. Participants walked in the Peace Park, carrying their banners and collecting signatures on the petition for Vanunu's release.

After the appeal, they held a meeting, inviting Mr. Yakushige who had visited the West Bank and Gaza Strip last August as a lecturer. He is the secretary general of Palestine Forum Japan.

From Sydney, September 29

Two commemorative services were held at St. John's Anglican Church. At each service, 16 candles were lit - one for each year of Mordechai's imprisonment. The morning service as attended by Meir Vanunu, Mordechai's brother.

On September 30, Irma Trnka, along with Rev. David Smith (who had met Mordechai in 1986), his wife and 5 month old son (named Soren Lee Mordechai Smith) held a noon hour vigil at the Israeli Embassy, handing out leaflets and speaking with passersby.

From Wellington, September 28

from Stockholm
On Friday, September 27, a noon hour vigil was held on the steps of Parliament to call for Vanunu's release. Participants held signs and handed out leaflets. Speakers included Graham Kelly, member of Parliament, as well as representatives from a student group from the University, a trade union, Amnesty International and the Palestinian Association. A couple of Mordechai's poems were also recited.

From San Francisco, September 28-30

from Stockholm
A dozen vigilers, including John Steinbach and Louise Franklin-Ramirez from Virginia, held signs and passed out leaflets in front of the Israeli Consulate on September 30. After the vigil Hal Carlstad attempted to deliver copies of the signed letter urging Mordechai's release, but the consulate refused to send anyone down to receive it. The letter were later mailed.

On Saturday, September 28th the Bay Area Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu held a standing-room-only benefit in Berkeley. Daniel Ellsberg, suffering from a severe case of laryngitis, had prepared some remarks to be read by Joanna Macy, but couldn't help speaking out himself to honor Mordechai Vanunu, Fran Macy (along with Aleksei Yablokov, 2002 recipient of the Nuclear-Free Future's Lifetime Achievement Award and Joanna's husband), and veteran activist Louise Franklin-Ramirez, who was celebrating her 97th birthday at the event. His timely and urgent remarks linking the Vanunu case with the current situation and assessing the unique dangers we face today due to US and Israeli nuclear threats are available for sharing with friends and the media, in print, email, and cassette form (and maybe soon a CD). The tape includes introductory remarks by Jeanie Shaterian of the Bay Area Campaign and comments by Joanna Macy, as well as Daniel Ellsberg's speech and a question and answer period. $1000 was raised for the U.S. campaign at this event!

From Washington, D.C., September 30

from Washington D.C.
On September 30, vigilers carried signs and banners calling for freedom for Vanunu and peace in the Middle East as they walked up the road to the Israeli Embassy, leafletting along the way. Thirty five people (and one dog) gathered at noon across the street from the embassy. Art Laffin and Felice Cohen-Joppa talked about why we were gathered and gave updates about Vanunu's case. Several of Mordechai's poems were read, and the group sang songs and signed a birthday card for Mordechai, as well as a letter to the ambassador calling for Vanunu's immediate release.
from Washington D.C.
At the end of the vigil, several people crossed the road to the front of the embassy to deliver the letter. They were determined to stay until someone met with them, and after a short time Art Laffin and Colleen McCarthy (who will be married on November 29!), Susan Clarkson and Elayne McClanen, were arrested and charged with "refusing to move on". They were released from custody that evening and have a court appearance in October. The letter was later mailed to the ambassador.

From Boston, September 30

Several people held a noon hour vigil at the Israeli Consulate in Boston, Massachusetts, calling for Vanunu's release. They held a banner and handed out leaflets. During the vigil, an Israeli woman stopped by with her family to say that she was glad the vigilers were there. At the end of the vigil, the group delivered a letter to the consulate.

From Vancouver, September 30

from Rome
There were about 20-25 people who participated in the Vigil. At least 10 were from the Campaign to End Sanctions Against the People of Iraq. Others were from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - BC, Women in Black, Jews for a Just Peace and Canada-Palestinian Network [CanPalnet]. Approximately 300 leaflets were handed out to passers-by on either side of Robson Street. Most people did see the Vigil as we had a long sentence held in sections, as well as other signs about Mordechai's unjust imprisonment. Global Justice took footage, which we hope will be developed into photos to see on line.

Participants signed a gigantic birthday card with individual messages. It was mailed the next day to Mordechai in Askelon Prison.

From Toronto, September 30

from Stockholm
We had a small attendance this year in Toronto with 12 people at the Vigil on Monday, September 30, 2002. This year, we stood across the street from the Israeli Consulate rather than in front of the lobby to the entrance of their building located at 180 Bloor Street West. This way, officials in the Consulate could see us from their 6th floor windows.

Two members of Toronto's Raging Grannies sang their song especially written for Mordechai Vanunu. We distributed copies of Vanunu's poem "I Am Your Spy" to people passing by; the flip-side of this small quarter page flyer encouraged people to phone the Consulate to register their personal protest. We held new placards aloft this year - we made 2 foot x 3 foot photocopies of the original London Sunday Times article of October 5, 1986 so everyone could read what Vanunu revealed. We collected signatures on a birthday card for Vanunu and have mailed it off to him. Some of the comments written on the card included: "may your courage sustain you", "your actions helped the world", "in gratitude for your costly witness", "may your courage and plight inspire and awaken others to the cause", "thanks for standing up for what is human in us all", "you are anything but forgotten", "your fight has not been in vain", "thank you for your bravery", "you are in our thoughts always", and "thank you for keeping the flame of peace alive in Israel and the Middle East".

The Vigil was promoted as a community event in NOW Magazine which has a circulation of 100,000+ copies in the Greater Toronto Area.