Excerpts from Mordechai Vanunu's acceptance speech for the Lennon Ono Peace Award

Delivered on his behalf on October 7 in New York, by adoptive parents Nick and Mary Eoloff

In the 21st century, people all over the world are beginning to acknowledge and appreciate the importance of the whistleblower. The one who has the courage to take responsibility on behalf of all humanity, the one who has the courage to act on behalf of all humanity. The whistleblower has in mind the safety of life on this earth, the people. He or she acts to prevent catastrophe by informing the public directly through the mass media - such is the combined power of knowledge and of conscience. In this age of mass communications information should no longer be secret, and in a democracy it should be open and available to the people. It is the task of the individual, who later becomes a whistleblower, to be the eyes and ears of the people, even if it will cost him his liberty.

... I have no regrets. I am proud and happy to publish Israel's nuclear weapons secret to all the world through the mass media. I have stood firmly behind this act of truth-telling for 18 years, and I continue to do so. Despite the personal suffering I have endured, kidnapped in Rome, being isolated from the world and feeling no respect or honor for my actions, I continue to believe that the public has a right to know, and must know the truth about Israel's nuclear weapons secrets. I was released after 18 years, 11 and half years in the most appalling conditions of solitary confinement, and I deserve to be able to speak now, but Israel is not ready to respect the freedom of speech and the rights of the people to know about the catastrophic nuclear weapons that Israel continues to clothe in secrecy. That is the point of a whistleblower; the world needs these phenomena of WHISTLEBLOWERS.

... My reason for speaking out was to bring this news to the people, to inform them and encourage active questioning of Israeli weapons policies. In addition to the threat posed by the use of such weapons, a stockpile of nuclear weapons without inspection, such as at the Dimona reactor, is a danger to the health of the people of the region as well as the environment of the Middle East and beyond.

My message to the United Nations and to influential democratic governments is "Open Dimona for inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency and take all necessary steps to prevent the use of nuclear weapons in any war". Al Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency should insist they have a right to inspect. Next, take all steps to make Israel a nuclear weapons free zone, and all the Middle East free from nuclear weapons.

I believe the U.N. should now have the courage to pass a resolution calling for the abolition of all weapons of mass destruction by making them illegal. BAN the production, possession and use of atomic bombs - that is potentially the greatest gift the United Nations and the U.N. Secretary General could give on behalf of 6 billion people in this fragile world. We cannot continue to exist with the threat posed by nuclear weapons...

The Nuclear Resister
October 2004