Concerning the Vanunu candidacy for Rector of Glasgow University
The Herald today runs a substantial piece on the SPSC's nomination of Mordechai Vanunu for Rector of Glasgow University - see it at http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/28460.html
and an editorial on the same issue: http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/28432.html
Please write in in reply. I think we should upport the very positive points about Vanunu's character and courage, the SPSC's initiative, student activism resurgent, etc. We can counter the somewhat negative endpoint by stressing that pressure on Israel and the UK government could speed Vanunu's release. Some of the points made on the previous email might be worth making in your letter.
There will be a meeting to discuss Vanunu's Rectorial campaign on Tuesday November 23, at 5.00pm in Boyd Orr Room 613 (University Avenue).
Israel continues to enforce Vanunu's silence, as it has done for 18 years. Vanunu has already endured almost two decades in an Israeli prison, twelve of them in the entombed in solitary confinement, for revealing Israel's illegal and dangerous nuclear arsenal. For the brave act of whistleblowing on a programme of weapons of mass destruction, Vanunu has paid, and is continuing to pay, a huge price.
Vanunu remains in great danger: the Israeli mass circulation daily, Ma'ariv, canvased its readers on what should be done with Vanunu, giving them a fifth option of 'kill him'. 33% chose this option. He has been assaulted by Jewish extremists outside his place of sanctuary, St George's Anglican cathedral in Jerusalem.
During July of this year, Vanunu agreed to a request by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to be filmed reading the poem for peace he wrote in the bleak solitude of the dozen years he was tortured in solitary confinement. Mordechai will read his poem on video on Tuesday at 5.00pm. Mick Napier, who solicited the reading and was present during the recording of I am your Spy, will report on his communications with Vanunu then and since.
A vote for Vanunu will:
Mordechai Vanunu is still deprived of his freedom in Israel for whistleblowiing in the cause of peace, and his opposition to WMD. Vanunu was a technician at Israel's nuclear weapons production plant. After he revealed Israel's huge nuclear arms program to the world, he was entrapped by Israeli Mossad agents in London, kidnapped in Rome and sentenced at a secret trial to 18 years of jail, 12 of which he served in solitary confinement. 'I refused to be a bolt in the deadly machinery.' After his release from prison, Vanunu was given refuge at St George Cathedral in East Jerusalem.
In the 70's he supported the cause of the violated Palestinian people, and lost his job as a result. 'Ever since I was a child I have learned to be open to other views', he says, 'to criticize, to be independent, and most importantly to be faithful to the truth. This is why I have always tried to serve mankind, by contributing to peace and foremost to justice for the much-suffering Palestinians.'
'I'm being punished for no crime. I'm not allowed to leave the country; I have to report to the police.' Bizarrely, Vanunu is not allowed to talk to foreigners, or to go near any embassy, border or (air)port, or write e-mails. He knows that his defiance of these restrictions can land him back in the Israeli gulag, the vast prison system of abuse and torture of Palestinians and which so cruelly tortured him for almost two decades
Why can't I speak to foreigners? I repeat all the things that Israel wants to be kept silent; I remind of Israel's nuclear weapons program, I speak of the barbaric treatment in Israeli prison, and I express my political views of the conflict.'
'Iraq didn't have any nuclear weapons, I'm sure that neither does Iran. If Israel wasn't so aggressive with its nuclear arms, none of the other countries would even need to get them.' He concludes that the international community should intervene and stop the Israeli aggression before it gets out of hand.
'But what kind of democracy is it now, with all these emergency laws? I am a living proof that Israel is not a democracy. Just like the Palestinians I want to have my rights and the freedom to go wherever I want, to do whatever I please. Israel has to become a secular democratic state; a state without apartheid and Jewish laws, a state that respects freedom of speech and other religions.
'I'm waiting for the world to intervene, to deal with Israel.'
In order to leave the country Vanunu is trying to cancel his Israeli citizenship, but for the authorities to approve of it, he needs a foreign one. While he has applied for Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Irish and even Palestinian citizenship, his application for British citizenship has yet to receive any clear response. Yet it was a British newspaper that published his revelations, and he was trapped by the Mossad on British soil. 'I would rather sit somewhere in peace and quiet, study history and write a book.'