What One Person Can Do

In the spring of 2000, internationally renowned Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti spoke at a Human Rights conference in Ottawa, about recently hearing the Canadian Opera's reading of Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera, and it's relationship to the Vanunu case.

"Though supposedly a Beethoven 'expert'," he said at the meeting, "I had only seen the opera once before, decades ago, in Salzburg. The story itself is stirring enough, though lacking any action until the last few scenes. It depicts the unjustly imprisoned Florestan who, filled with despair and longing, is confined in solitude to a dungeon where no ray of light penetrates, nor any ray of hope that justice might eventually prevail. Add to this the miraculous music of the supreme master of both heartbreaking tenderness and stormy passion, and even the most jaded listener must struggle to keep the eyes dry...

"The moral climax precedes the dramatic one, and comes in Florestan's aria 'In des Lebens Frühlingstagen', where he sings: 'In the springtime of my life, my happiness has fled. I bravely ventured to tell the truth, and these chains are my reward... my heart's sweet solace is that I have done my duty.'

"Suddenly, at this point, I saw Mordechai Vanunu. I was not just reminded of him, perceiving the parallel in a detached, intellectual way; it was his plight at this very instant that shook me. Here was another man, alive today, who shouted out the truth to us, and was rewarded by being kidnapped in Italy by the Israeli Mossad and thrown into solitary confinement for 12 years..."

It was a year later when Kuerti sent a copy of his speech, along with a letter and some CD's, to Mordechai Vanunu at Ashkelon Prison. Five months afterwards he received a touching reply from the prisoner. Kuerti incorporated Vanunu's letter into an article, and in November 2001, submitted it to the New York Times. Undeterred after receiving no response, he then sent it to the Toronto Globe and Mail. The article, which took up almost a full page, was published in that important Canadian paper on Saturday, December 29, followed by several letters to the editor in response.

CBC Radio One then asked Kuerti for an interview, which aired on Sunday, January 13. During the 20-minute interview, Kuerti spoke at great length about Vanunu's situation and the implications of his case and Israel's nuclear arsenal. He also read Vanunu's poem "I Am Your Spy," giving voice to the nuclear whistleblower who Israel hopes to silence by locking away.

Anton Kuerti's article can be read at the U.S. Campaign's website here.