There’s hope: Abie Nathan (The Voice of Peace)

There’s hope: Abie Nathan (The Voice of Peace)

Last week, you met Rafida Bonya Ahmend, an activist at the forefront of a movement calling for freedom of expression and alternatives to the dominance of religion in education. This week, we will introduce you to someone who will show you that politics is so much more than abstract decisions in secret rooms made by people

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 11.26.29Last week, you met Rafida Bonya Ahmend, an activist at the forefront of a movement calling for freedom of expression and alternatives to the dominance of religion in education.

This week, we will introduce you to someone who will show you that politics is so much more than abstract decisions in secret rooms made by people in suits who seem to have lost touch with reality. Politics can be expressed in so many ways, and in this case I would like to show you the power of music- or should I rather say let you be mesmerized by the Voice of Peace.

Abie Nathan

“Hello, here is a very special radio message from somewhere in the Mediterranean”, the Voice of Peace, a floating radio station, which broadcasted a “mixture of pacific politics and Western pop lyrics to the State of Israel”. However, this radio station wasn’t just a hippie ship for rebellious DJs. It was the attempt to get Middle Eastern people to talk to each other again and forget about their differences. An idea that was driven by the ex-fighter pilot that later became a convinced peace activist, called Abie Nathan.

Although the Voice of Peace on the Peace ship was his biggest and longest project, it was the result of him risking his life for peace in 1966. Back then, Israel and Egypt were still in war, when Abie painted his private plane white with the letters “Shalom 1” (Peace 1) to fly from Tel Aviv (Israel) and land in Port Said (Egypt). And now guess what, he didn’t get instantly shot like the Israelis expected. Abie was actually greeted very friendly by the Egyptians and thus managed to weaken the iron curtain that existed between Egypt and Israel.

However, back then he realized that it would need more than a plane to show the people that reality and propaganda were two different things. That is when he had the idea of creating an independent radio station. He found a ship in the Netherlands that could be reconstructed and wanted to use radio equipment from New York. In order to so, however, he had to sell almost all of his belongings, which was still not enough to finance the entire project. So, somehow he managed to convince other peace activists in the US like John Lennon and Bob Dylan, of his cause and was able to raise 300 000 dollars for the ship.

Even though, that was only enough to buy the radio equipment, he was too impatient to wait any longer in New York, to raise more money for supplies. Because of his impatience the Peace Ship only made it to Marseille, where he ran out of fuel. Then something extraordinary happened. Local prostitutes, who had already heard about Abie and his mission, started donating small amounts of money over a period of 18 months that made it eventually possible for the crew to get back to Israel and start his radio program that was transmitted 24 hours every day.

At this point, dear reader, I would like to apologize for only having been able to give a short summary of this story. Unfortunately, I am incapable of doing all of his exceptional achievements justice, but if you are interested to read more about Abie Nathan, then please visit:

http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/VOP/vop01.shtml

If you had enough of reading, then why not listen to Abie’s radio program?

Or if you speak German, then you can watch this documentary about him here:

 

Jasper
ADMINISTRATOR
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