Brian Haw had more political conviction and principles than many of the ‘honourable’ members who walked past his protest camp over the past 10 years. His belief that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were illegal, immoral and should end led him to make a huge sacrifice to commit 10 years camped outside in Parliament Square. His contribution to standing up for those who are abused by global powers is so much bigger than giving up a Saturday to go on a Stop The War march, as much as a commitment as that is.
We all have a responsibility to stand up against injustice, suffering and poverty. Brian took this seriously, and led by his Christian faith he lived out that mantra. The times I talked with him, or tried to talk to him, he was not always the easiest person to get along with. Constantly under threat from politicians trying to remove him and police arrests, who could blame his suspicion? I delivered him parcels which could not be sent via the standard postal system. It was the small things like that, as well as the obvious separation from his wife and seven children, which showed his commitment to a cause he truly believed in.
For a decade, politicians tried to avoid looking at Brian’s constant reminder in Parliament Square of the consequences of their actions. His camp was a visible reminder of the thousands of innocent people who lost their lives as a result of UK foreign policy over the past decade. Every time an MP votes it has an impact on real people’s lives, both at home and abroad.
Rest in peace Brian, you were an inspiration to us all and a conscience for our politicians.