Call for Brian Haw anti-war memorial outside Westminster

By staff writers
22 Jun 2011

Peace campaigners across Britain have been remembering anti-war activist Brian Haw, who died of cancer at the weekend. They want a permanent memorial in Parliament Square.

Mr Haw, who is survived by his former wife Kay, and seven children, set up a high profile camp opposite the Houses of Parlaiment in 2001, in protest against UK and US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

He faced eviction, violence, harassment and political opprobrium from some MPs and the government for his protest. In March 2011, a High Court ruling obtained by London Mayor Boris Johnson forced him to move his camp on to the pavement. But he successfully fought off three other attempts to remove him - including one sanctioned by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

London Assembly Member and 2012 Green Party Mayoral Candidate Jenny Jones has now called for a Blue Plaque to remember Mr Haw and his peace camp outside Parliament.

She told the BBC that the protester, who led a 10-year vigil in Westminster against wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was "another war casualty".

Other peace campaigners have backed the idea. One protester told Ekklesia: "There are monuments to war all over London. One celebrating a peacemaker who spoke out against murderous policies and resisted attempts by unprincipled politicians to have his protest banned, simply because it embarrassed them, shouldn't be too much to ask."

An editorial in the Independent newspaper called Mr Haw, an evangelical Christian, a "Rebel with a cause....[a] one-man peace camp... a mighty irritant slap in front of the seat of national government."

Artist Mark Wallinger, who dedicated work to him, called Mr Haw "a unique and remarkable man" who showed "tenacity, integrity and dignity."

Veteran former MP Tony Benn said that his visible resistance to illegal warmaking by three British Prime Ministers made him "the man of peace in Westminster".

He added: "The remarkable thing about Brian was not only his principle, but his determination, alone, to be effective as indeed he was; for millions of people must have seen him there or on television, and came to know of his campaign."

"He documented horrific Gulf War depleted uranium birth defects, repeated lies and evasions of US and UK leaders, and imperial lawlessness waging unconscionable wars. Resolutely he remained tenacious against injustice, championing peace and love," wrote Stephen Lendman on the website Media With Conscience.

A 19 June message on Mr Haw's website declared: "Brian showed great determination and courage during the many long hard years he led his peace campaign. [He] showed the same courage and determination is his battle with cancer. He was keenly aware of and deeply concerned that so many civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine did not have access to the same treatments that were made available to him."

* See also: 'Remembering Brian Haw' - http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/11570-remembering-brian-haw.html

[Ekk/3]

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