BRIAN HAW 4 YEARS OF 24/7!!
Thursday 2nd June 2005 saw peace campaigner Brian Haw clock up his 4th anniversary in London's Parliament Square. Brain has been on a one-man 24/7 vigil for Iraq since June 2nd 2001 and while at first he counted days now he counts years. How much longer can he go on? "As long as it takes." is what Brian, a father of 7 says.
The media coverage has been muted with the foreign media such as Spanish TV and CNN often showing more interest than the British media. I phoned a number of TV and Radio programmes and about 5 national newspapers. The response was rather lukewarm I'm afraid.
Here is the media I contacted (all by phone to the news desk):
1/ NBC - US TV Company with office in London.
2/ BBC Radio 4 `The World Tonight`
3/ Channel Four news
4/ Channel 5 news (actually now owned by Sky i.e. Rupert Murdoch)
5//London Weekend television
6/ BBC2 `Newsnight`
7/ BBC 1 News
9/Daily Mail newspaper
12/ Scottish Daily Mirror (based in Glasgow)
13/ Daily Mirror (based in London)
14/ ITN (ITV news).
You will notice that the biggest circulation paper in Britain `The Sun` or `The Scum` to its detractors is not on the list. I phoned them up last year about the 3rd anniversary and spoke to a journalist at the news desk and incredibly he asked me where Parliament Square was! That's the intellectual level of Murdoch's tabloids I'm afraid. Imagine a London based journalist not knowing something like that. It's like a London taxi driver not knowing where Buckingham Palace is.
I'm not actually sure of all the media coverage but Brian did manage a piece in the `Metro` which is owned by Trinity Mirror and was on the BBC news website. I have enclosed details of those two.
I myself saw Brian on Wednesday May 25th 2005 and I took some photos, which I attach. I asked Brian for a quote and what he would say to people who were downhearted at not being able to stop the war and are now discouraged from further action.
Brian said: "We're discouraged? What's it like for people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you realise they're being wiped out like the Native Americans and WE are responsible, just like the people of Hitler's Germany were. It's an awful responsibility being American or British as our governments are committing genocide; what are we doing to stop it?"
He went on: "Personally I can't live with it, I can't see how anyone can who is aware. Are we aware or do we have our head in the sand as nations are exterminated in our name - each one of us is a unique part of the answer. What am I doing? What more can I do? We shouldn't have gone home and sat down after February 15th 2003. We have to get up now or answer for it, we are each responsible, Love, Brian."
He spoke of the terrible bombing of Fallujah when 90,000 houses were destroyed and reminded us of `New` Labour's commitment to build new houses. They seem to have abandoned that in favour of destroying other people's homes instead.
He also said there should more demonstrations and more spontaneity
He added that there was a good deal of racism involved in the occupation with the Americans calling the Iraqis `ragheads` in much the same way that they called the Vietnamese `gooks` and `dinks`.
I go to see Brian whenever I'm in London which is on average about two or three times a year (I live in Edinburgh about 400 miles or 640km away). I am constantly amazed by his dedication and never say die attitude. Imagine a man in his 50's (or indeed any age) sleeping in all weathers 24 hours a day and having to put up with verbal and physical abuse and being constantly threatened with eviction - for what? For telling the truth? For being an embarrassment to the warmongering politicians on the opposite side of the road?
Legislation has been passed which will now make it easier for the powers that be to evict Brian but he won't go either easily or quietly. I feel that with his spirit and with support from others he could stay.
Brian loves to hear from people and you can easily drop him a line by writing to him:
I have actually sent him postcards and letters to this address and he is so well known that they do get delivered, so why not write to him today?
You can also visit his website which is: www.parliament-square.org.uk
If you ever feel downhearted think of Brian Haw - he is an inspiration to us all.
NOTE: For all sympathisers living in London there will be a commemoration in Parliament Square this Sunday (June 5th) which will take place all afternoon. If you can get to Parliament Square why not go unless you're a thick Sun journalist who doesn't know where it is.
Six photos are attached and here is the BBC news report of Brian's 4th anniversary, note the use of negative words like `eyesore`:
BBC WEBSITE REPORTS ON BRIAN'S PROTEST
A campaigner who is marking four years of non-stop protest has said he "hates" being camped out in Parliament Square.
Brian Haw, from Redditch, Worcs, began his one-man demonstration against sanctions in Iraq on 2 June 2001.
Since then he has only left his makeshift camp, where he sleeps under a plastic sheet, to attend court for five legal bids to evict him.
Speaking to BBC News, Mr Haw said: "I hate it. But it doesn't matter how you feel, you have to do what's right."
Supporters of Mr Haw - who stood as a candidate in the general election - will mark the anniversary on Thursday.
He said: I live from day-to-day but I hate it, I hate every moment of it. I have young idiots at four in the morning shouting vile and threatening abuse in my face."
A new law has been passed that should have put an end to his protest but so far no one has tried to move him on.
Surrounded by placards, the father-of-seven frequently uses a megaphone to attack government policy in Iraq. Some MPs claim he is disrupting their work with his noise.
Commons leader Peter Hain has described his camp as an "eye-sore" and the Speaker has asked the police to get the protest removed.
But confusion about who has rights over the square, opposite the Palace of Westminster, had left both the Commons' Speaker and the police powerless to act.
Westminster City Council failed to evict Mr Haw after High Court judge Mr Justice Gray refused to grant an injunction preventing him from obstructing the pavements.
Last month Mr Haw stood in the Parliamentary election in the Cities of London and Westminster seat.
A peace campaigner who set up camp in Parliament Square four years ago has vowed to continue into a fifth year despite all attempts to evict him.
Brian Haw, from Redditch, Worcs, began his one-man protest against sanctions in Iraq on 2 June 2001.
Since then he has only left his makeshift camp to attend court during five attempts to evict him.
A new law has been passed which should have put an end to his protest but so far no one has tried to move him on.
Mr Haw's solicitor, Michael Shvortz, said he could challenge any decision to move him on.
Mr Shvortz added: "There are plenty of good arguments why he should not be moved on.
"He won a High Court case where a judge said that he was doing no more than exercising his rights of assembly and expression under the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.
"That position hasn't changed since the passing of this new act.
"I'd be concerned if the police and the government tried to use this new piece of law to move him on because they'd be trying in effect to override a High Court judge and breach the European Convention on Human Rights."
Some of Mr Haw's supporters will mark his fourth anniversary at the makeshift camp with an event in Parliament Square this week.
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