I went to the Brian Haw memorial gig at the Whitstable Labour Club on Friday. In case you don’t know, Whitstable is raising money to make a bench in celebration of Brian’s connection to the town.
What you might not know is that there’s a specific association with the Labour Club too, in that Brian’s brother, Richard, was the chairman of the club for many years. Richard was also at the gig, and it was great to catch up with him again after all this time.
I also met two of Brian’s children, Pete and Catt, both of whom made fine speeches. It was interesting to hear the small details of Brian’s former life, when he was just an ordinary Dad, bringing up a family in Birmingham.
It was very touching because of course he became such an international figure in the end, recognised by people all over the world.
This is what made Brian’s protest so powerful. He was an ordinary man, who, by an unwavering belief and a fierce commitment, became the conscience for the whole world.
He was a deeply spiritual man, but he wasn’t like so many spiritual people, content with just praising God. He saw that he also had a duty to God, to fight against the injustices of the world.
There is no greater injustice than the murder of innocence. Brain Haw left his own family behind and by this act threw off the shackles of tribalism. He gave up his own children to become a father for all children.
As we know, Tony Blair has often claimed to be a Christian. But what a different kind of Christianity this must be to the one that Brian practised.
One form of Christianity revelled in its power and influence and was able to justify the invasion of a sovereign state and the murder and mayhem that followed. The other stood in fierce condemnation of this and, like an old testament prophet, roared out his truths to the world.
One became immensely rich, while the other gave up everything – including his life – for something much more meaningful.
From The Whitstable Gazette.