Brian Haw Peace Campaigner was born on January 7th 1949 and died 18th June 2011.
I didn’t know Brian. I spoke with him a handful of times between 2003 and 2010 and always made a point of stopping for a chat whenever I was passing Parliament Square. A protester and peace campaigner, he had lived in a makeshift camp there since 2001.
One baking hot afternoon in 2006 I recorded him on a day he was sleep deprived and obviously under a lot of pressure as the worlds press hassled him for interviews. It was the hardest ‘interview’ I’ve ever tried to undertake. The audio I include below is half of what was initially recorded. Much of Brians anger appeared to be directed at myself and my journalist friend so I cut it out as I didn’t want it to dilute Brian’s initial message. After all, we were in the middle of what many thought and still think was an Illegal war.
At the end, as me and my friend walk off, we summarise, attempting the impossible in trying to understand an incredibly complex man who was ‘fighting the good fight’. Listening back we will certainly sound naive and a little dismissive to some. Perhaps if you had been there with us in two hours of intense heat, listening, taking all the insults and treading as carefully as we could.. you may have felt the same way. More to the point, perhaps if we had sat with Brian for five years throughout the seasons, we would have empathised more.
I’m glad that in the following years I got to see other facets of this rough cut diamond of a man. Voted most inspiring political figure at the 2007 Channel 4 Political awards, Brain Inspired countless people. I have been one of them. I think that is what Brian will most be remembered for. His Inspiration to others.
The Parliament Square Protesters celebrated 10 years at the beginning of this month. An incredible feat of determination and endurance. Laws have been invented to stop what Brian has started. Rights have been defended and won.
Rest in Peace Brian.