On Christmas Eve evening I picked up my mail and opened up a card from Jerusalem sent to me by Mordechai Vanunu. He made me laugh out loud, for he addressed it to: “Eileen Flaming” not Fleming, which is my actual name.
But, upon reflection, I think Vanunu has renamed me well; for I am flaming over the hypocrisy and injustice of empire and apathy and ignorance of good Christians who have no eyes to see, ears to hear, or hearts that bleed for the poor and oppressed in the Holy land and the entire Middle East.
I picked my Christmas Eve mail up three years to the very hour to when I had first read an article by Jerry Levin about Vanunu’s 2004 Christmas Eve arrest for attempting to travel the less than two hour walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Levin was a former CNN Mid East Bureau Chief of the 1980’s who had been a secular Jew held hostage by the Lebanese Hezbollah. Levin escaped his captivity unharmed shortly after a mystical Christmas Eve experience of Jesus and had become a full time volunteer with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron. Levin’s article about Vanunu’s Christmas Eve arrest got my Irish temper flaming about the injustices Israel is allowed to perpetuate; and three Christmas’ later, my flaming Irish temper persists.
In 2004, Vanunu had attempted to celebrate his first Christmas Eve Mass as a Christian in the Little Town of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, which is in Occupied Territory. Instead of mass, Israel arrested him and Vanunu spent Christmas Eve night in prison for Israel claimed Vanunu was “attempting to leave the county” which they have not allowed.
Israel claims they cannot let Vanunu leave Isreal for they believe he still has another secret to tell about their WMD Program in the Negev, which has never allowed international inspectors into and which Vanunu has not set into in over 21 years. Leaving Israel is all Vanunu has desired since his April 21, 2004 release from 18 years in prison for telling the world the truth that Israel was already nuclear in 1986.
When I read Jerry Levin’s article about Vanunu’s Christmas Eve arrest, I became flaming mad for I could not comprehend how a democracy could deny anyone from worshipping any where and any how they desired. On Christmas Eve 2004, I spent hours at my computer emailing Mr. Bill O’Reilly-the champion of the “war on Christmas” and my local paper; the Orlando Sentinel, the New York Times and dozens of other MSM outlets, in the naïve belief that the Fourth Estate reported the truth and had the best interests of America and democracy at heart.
How little I knew about how deluded I was back then.
In the olden days of 2004, I had not yet taken my first of five journeys into Israel Palestine. In 2004, I naively/ignorantly believed that the USA Fourth Estate reported the truth and cared about the best interests of America. I once thought the USA MSM would be enraged that a Christian from Jerusalem would be denied the right to enter the Little Town of Bethlehem and celebrate the birth of a little child named Jesus who was born, lived and died under Military occupation. But I am not as naïve or uninformed as I had once been.
In 2007, the USA Fourth Estate has also ignored that Israel “blocked clergy from reaching their churches and Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem and elsewhere in the Holy Land… The Israeli authorities are arbitrarily denying entry to clergy and volunteers belonging to or working for Christian institutions and service providers. The clergy being harassed and denied entry to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) join tens of thousands of ordinary foreign passport holders of Palestinian and non-Palestinian origin who wish to be with their families, work or study, as well as tourists and pilgrims… In addition, there appears to be a new policy by Israel to refuse entry or visa extension for foreign, primarily Western, Christian volunteers working with various Christian organizations here. This is affecting the viability of these organizations and the normal connection with their supporters and fellow Christians in the countries that contribute to the presence of these Christian workers. They represent mainstream Christian and faith-based groups, such as the World Council of Churches and the American Friend’s Service Committee that advocate non- violence and brotherhood and are in no way a threat to the security of Israel…Israel has continued to pursue both policies and practices that fail to comply with International Humanitarian Law.” – Press Release Dec. 24, 2007, from www.RightToEnter.
The USA MSM totally ignored this abomination as it has also ignored one of the most historic stories of the 21st Century: Vanunu’s Freedom of Speech Trial in the ‘democracy’ of Israel; which is no democracy at all, unless you are a Jew.
I contend that Vanunu is a prophet, and prophets do not necessarily predict the future, but point out the disaster ahead, provoke people to think about God and shine a brighter light onto what has already been revealed. The ancient Hebrew prophets were always ignored, ridiculed or demonized in their life times and so, I also contend, that Vanunu qualifies as one.
The last time I crossed paths with Vanunu, was in July of this year directly in front of Saint Stephen’s Church in East Jerusalem and he told me, “This is the very spot where they stoned to death the first Christian martyr for freedom of speech.”
Prophets and martyrs have always agitated empire and empire has always sought to render a society subservient by dividing and thus conquer a people.
Big Brother and the MSM in the USA label indigenous people throughout the Middle East who have risen up and are fighting for control of their own lives and homeland as terrorists and negates the terror America, the Industrial Military Complex and the inhumanity of military occupation has done unto them.
The neo-con philosophy infused with the heretical Christian Zionist theology has cut off American Christians from the very root of what the Prince of Peace/Jesus was all about. Jesus never demanded he be worshipped, but he promised that it is the peacemakers who are the children of God; and NOT those who bomb, torture of occupy others.
No Way did Jesus ever say that “SECURITY” –the blanket excuse of empire builders to justify and deny basic human rights and international law-is OK!
The term ‘Christian’ was not even coined until the days of Paul, about 3 decades after Jesus walked the earth a man. Jesus was never a Christian, but he was a social justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up and challenged the job security of the Temple authorities by teaching the people they did NOT need to pay the priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God; for God already LOVED them just as they were: sinners, poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Roman Military Occupation.
What got Jesus crucified was disturbing the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces of his time, by teaching the subversive concept that Caesar only had power because God allowed it and that God preferred the humble sinner, the poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Roman Occupation above the elite and arrogant military occupiers.
The early followers and lovers of Jesus were called members of THE WAY-being THE WAY he taught one should be; Nonviolent, a Peacemaker and one who did the will of the Father. And, “What does God require? He has told you o’man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord.” -Micah 6:8
2,000 years ago The Cross had NO symbolic religious meaning. When Jesus said: “Pick up your cross and follow me,” He was issuing a POLITICAL statement, for the main roads in Jerusalem were lined with crucified agitators, rebels, dissidents and any others who disturbed the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces.
Israel claims they cannot let Vanunu leave Israel because he still has a ‘secret’ he has yet to tell about their underground WMD Program in the Dimona, which Vanunu has NOT sent foot into in over 21 years-and international inspectors never have been allowed to tread upon. Yet Israel claims SECURITY as their rational and ignores and denies the risks to their own citizens.
“In mid-November, London’s Sunday Times reported that Israel put defenses around its Dimona nuclear reactor on “red alert” 30 times… given the threat of radioactive releases, does the plant’s continued operation outweigh the risks? Dimona… is the region’s largest nuclear plant and sole producer of atomic weapons materials… Dimona is no Chernobyl. It generates only about 5 percent of that failed Soviet reactor’s power. Still, the plant – along with its spent nuclear fuel, extracted plutonium, and nuclear reprocessing waste – poses significant radiological hazards that a military strike [against it] could disperse into the environment… during the June 1967 war Israel shot down one of its own Mirage jet fighters when it strayed over the facility. In 1973, Dimona’s defenders downed a wayward Libyan civilian airliner heading for the reactor, killing 108 people. But the 1991 Gulf War upset whatever solace Israel could take from the past. Iraqi Scud missiles hit Tel Aviv, and one came close to hitting Dimona. Hizbullah’s bombardment of northern Israel in 2006 further demonstrated the country’s vulnerability to missile attack…Dimona has produced all the plutonium that Israel reasonably needs, and the reactor – one of the worlds oldest – has suffered minor mishaps and evident deterioration, raising the specter of more serious accidents.” http://www.dailystar.com.lb/
“For Caesar, peace is imposed by the might of empire… Peace comes when the sovereignty of God is acknowledged rather than Caesar’s. For people living under occupation or oppression, Caesar has become a symbol of the evil that crushes and enslaves… In the kingdom of God, glory and sovereignty belong to God and not to Caesar. God’s peace is not achieved by crushing and eliminating others but by embracing them. Caesar’s empire is built on violence and military might, God’s empire is built on justice and mercy. Caesar’s peace enslaves and humiliates, God’s peace liberates and restores dignity to the oppressed. Caesar builds walls to separate people, God tears down the walls of separation to join, unify, and reconcile them one with the other. Caesar’s peace is exclusive for a chosen few, God’s peace is inclusive for all regardless of their race or ethnicity. Ultimately, peace will come not from the Caesars and all those who trust in their military might and in the arrogance of their power but from the meek that put their trust in God. It is the meek who will inherit the earth. Peace will come from the labor, toil, and hard work of all those who do not glory in their riches or in their power but glory in their love and service of God and in their love and acceptance of others. God’s message of peace still rings true, not from Annapolis that represents empire, but from the small town of Bethlehem, Palestine that still suffers under occupation. The peace that the Caesars of the world give is largely false and deceptive, and it cannot last. Only the peace that God gives, the peace that is based on justice and truth will survive and prosper.”- Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center Jerusalem Statement of December 18, 2007
We are living George Orwell’s nightmare in the 21st century; for war is claimed to be the way to peace and nuclear weapons are promised as the way to provide security.
“In Orwell’s 1984…a state or alleged state of war is used to maintain total control over everyone. Lies have replaced truth, and the media serves as propagandist for the Ministry of Truth. The meaning of words, such as ‘freedom’ has been perverted. The attitude of 1984’s all-powerful government is ‘you are with us or against us.’ – Paul Craig Roberts
“It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”-Bob Dylan
Yet, hope prevails in this season of reflection and comprehends that all things are possible for “we have it in our power to begin the world again.”- Tom Paine.
Hope is not an optimistic wish; hope is what fuels persistence and “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. … Genius will not. … Education will not. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”- Calvin Coolidge
This civilian journalist has no hope in the USA Government or MSM to effect change, but I have a flaming hope in the New Fourth Estate who report truth on the World Wide Web and who are the muckrakers of the 21st century but “we have yet to begin to IMAGINE the power and potential of the Internet.”-Charlie Rose, 2005
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”-John 1:5
Nor will it; as long as there is Net Neutrality and truth, justice and peace seekers.
In an email received from Vanunu on December 26, 2007 he wrote:
Bad news, Dec. 25 th. The police come to the American Colony to arrest me. I was meeting a young German girl who wanted to know more about my story. They took us to the police questioning me, hold me until midnight 24:00. Not so impressive all this again arrest. I think the police was waiting for my arrest in Beet Lehem, since I did come to B L. they found new reason to arrest me. Any way life will continue as I am doing all the Time.
Send Vanunu a message of support through his site: www.vanunu.com
Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor
Author “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu”