Brian Haw – purposefully stubborn to end innocent deaths

Written by Suraj Shah.

Love, Peace, Justice, Stop killing my kids.

For 10 years, peace campaigner Brian Haw sat firm in Parliament Square, helping London’s people, politicians and the global community at large increase awareness about the hundreds of people dying every day in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, killed as a result of greed, deluded fear and ignorance.

Brian didn’t want to stay away from his family for so long (his wife eventually divorced him), but he remained at his tent in Parliament Square, nomatter how much physical abuse he had to endure from drunks and thugs, endless harrassment from the police, or eviction attempts by Westminster Council.

Keen observers from around the world would film and photograph Brian and would ask how he slept. “Badly…”, he would respond, “how would you sleep if 200 babies were dying every day?” They fussed over how he ate (mostly chips and sugar-loaded coffee bought by people who visited him or were passing by). When he talked, he sounded tired… tired of people not taking responsibility for the inhumanness of their fellow man. (source: The Economist)

Regardless of how he slept, how he ate, how tired and worn he was, he would not move from his campaign spot in Parliament Square. However, in March 2011, a high court ruling by London’s mayor forced him to move his camp to the pavement. A few months later, Brian Haw died in Germany where he was receiving medical treatment for lung cancer.

In a tribute to the peace campaigner, a member of parliament noted: “Brian Haw’s 10 years of 24/7 protest in all weather against the futile wars in Iraq / Helmund deserves the nation’s thanks and admiration.”

Brian had lived in Worcestershire with his wife Kay and seven children before starting his protest in Parliament Square. he had said the children of Iraq and other countries were “every bit as valuable and worthy of love as my precious wife and children.” He added: “I want to go back to my own kids and look them in the face again, knowing that I’ve done all I can to try and save the children of Iraq and other countries who are dying because of my government’s unjust, amoral, fear – and money-driven policies.”

Can we take lessons of love, compassion, and firm resolution from Brian’s life? Can we see the world’s children as our own? How far do the qualities of friendship and compassion extend for each of us? What are we willing to do to speak on behalf of those facing violence and death due to our own ignorance?

(Photo courtesy of David Martyn Hunt)

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